Touring

Parquet Courts

Mistletone is rapt to announce the return of Parquet Courts this July!Pre-sale starts Friday 11 February (9AM local time). General Public on sale Monday 14 February (9AM local time).

PARQUET COURTS TOUR DATES:

Sunday July 24 – Splendour In The Grass (sold out).
Tuesday July 26 – The Forum Melbourne. Pre-sales here.
Friday July 29 – The Metro Theatre, Sydney. Pre-sales here.
Sunday July 31 – The Rechabite, Perth. Pre-sales here.

Parquet Courts return Down Under this July to perform tracks from their latest album Sympathy For Life, out now via Rough Trade Records & Remote Control.

Sympathy For Life sees the Brooklyn band at their most instinctive and electronic, spinning their bewitching, psychedelic storytelling into fresh territory, yet maintaining their unique identity. Built largely from improvised jams, inspired by New York clubs, Primal Scream and Pink Floyd and produced in league with Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Hot Chip, David Byrne), Sympathy For Life was always destined to be dancey. Unlike its globally adored predecessor, 2018’s Wide Awake! – the focus fell on grooves rather than rhythm.

Most of the songs were created by taking long improvisations and moulding them through our own editing,” explains Austin Brown“The biggest asset we have as artists is the band. After 10 years together, our greatest instrument is each other. The purest expression of Parquet Courts is when we are improvising.” In a very real sense, the band sampled themselves, moulding and chopping their rhythmic and melodic jams to create these songs, to manifest something new. 

Parquet Courts – ‘Walking at a Downtown Pace’ (Official Video):

Cate Le Bon

CATE LE BON TOUR DATES:

Thursday June 9 – Vivid Sydney @ Carriageworks. Tickets and more info here.
Thursday June 16 – The Corner, Melbourne. tickets on sale here. co-presented by ALWAYS LIVE and Triple R.
Friday June 17 – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine. tickets on sale here. co-presented by ALWAYS LIVE and Triple R.
Sunday June 19 – Dark Mofo, Hobart. tickets on sale now, more info here.
* watch this space for more dates


* watch this space for more dates

Indie icon Cate Le Bon and her band return to Australia in celebration of Pompeii, her sixth full-length studio album, and one of this year’s most acclaimed releases, with accolades from Pitchfork Best New Music to Triple R Album of the Week

The past few years have seen Le Bon emerge as a much lauded and sought-after collaborator, producing albums for contemporaries such as Deerhunter (Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?), John Grant (Boy From Michigan), and forthcoming albums from both Devendra Banhart and H. Hawkline, and playing a prominent guest role on new albums by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

As Bradford Cox aptly noted about Le Bon, “there are artists who look inwards or outwards, and then there are the very rare ones who transcend either location.”   More succinctly, Perfume Genius tweeted, “Cate Le Bon the only cool person left!

Pompeii, Cate Le Bon’s sixth full-length studio album and the follow up to 2019’s Mercury-nominated Reward, bears a storied title summoning apocalypse, but the metaphor eclipses any “dissection of immediacy,” says Le Bon. Not to downplay her nod to disorientation induced by double catastrophe — global pandemic plus climate emergency’s colliding eco-traumas resonate all too eerily. “What would be your last gesture?” she asks. But just as Vesuvius remains active, Pompeii reaches past the current crises to tap into what Le Bon calls “an economy of time warp” where life roils, bubbles, wrinkles, melts, hardens, and reconfigures unpredictably, like lava—or sound, rather. Like she says in the opener, “Dirt on the Bed,” Sound doesn’t go away / In habitual silence / It reinvents the surface / Of everything you touch.

Pompeii is sonically minimal in parts, and its lyrics jog between self-reflection and direct address. Vulnerability, although “obscured,” challenges Le Bon’s tendencies towards irony. Written primarily on bass and composed entirely alone in an “uninterrupted vacuum,” Le Bon plays every instrument (except drums and saxophones) and recorded the album largely by herself with long-term collaborator and co-producer Samur Khouja in Cardiff, Wales. Enforced time and space pushed boundaries, leading to an even more extreme version of Le Bon’s studio process – as exits were sealed, she granted herself “permission to annihilate identity.” “Assumptions were destroyed, and nothing was rejected” as her punk assessments of existence emerged.

Enter Le Bon’s signature aesthetic paradox: songs built for Now miraculously germinate from her interests in antiquity, philosophy, architecture, and divinity’s modalities. Unhinged opulence rests in sonic deconstruction that finds coherence in pop structures, and her narrativity favors slippage away from meaning. In “Remembering Me,” she sings: In the classical rewrite / I wore the heat like / A hundred birthday cakes / Under one sun. Reconstituted meltdowns, eloquently expressed. This mirrors what she says about the creative process: “as a changeable element, it’s sometimes the only point of control… a circuit breaker.” She’s for sure enlightened, or at least more highly evolved than the rest of us. Hear the last stanza on the album closer, “Wheel”: I do not think that you love yourself / I’d take you back to school / And teach you right / How to want a life / But, it takes more time than you’d tender. Reprimanding herself or a loved one, no matter: it’s an end note about learning how to love, which takes a lifetime and is more urgent than ever.

To leverage visionary control, Le Bon invented twisted types of discipline into her absurdist decision making. Primary goals in this project were to mimic the “religious” sensibility in one of Tim Presley’s paintings, which hung on the studio wall as a meditative image and was reproduced as a portrait of Le Bon for Pompeii’s cover. Fist across the heart, stalwart and saintly: how to make “music that sounds like a painting?” Cate asked herself. Enter piles of Pompeii’s signature synths made on favourites such as the Yamaha DX7, amongst others; basslines inspired by 1980s Japanese city pop, designed to bring joyfulness and abandonment; vocal arrangements that add memorable depth to the melodic fabric of each song; long-term collaborator Stella Mozgawa’s “jazz-thinking” percussion patched in from quarantined Australia; and Khouja’s encouraging presence.

The songs of Pompeii feel suspended in time, both of the moment and instant but reactionary and Dada-esque in their insistence to be playful, satirical, and surreal. From the spirited, strutting bass fretwork of “Moderation”, to the sax-swagger of “Running Away”; a tale exquisite in nature but ultimately doomed (The fountain that empties the world / Too beautiful to hold), escapism lives as a foil to the outside world. Pompeii’s audacious tribute to memory, compassion, and mortal salience is here to stay.

The past few years have seen Le Bon emerge as a much lauded and sought-after collaborator, producing albums for contemporaries such as Deerhunter (Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?), John Grant (Boy From Michigan), and forthcoming albums from both Devendra Banhart and H. Hawkline. She’s not so much a gun for hire as a multi-faceted artist and producer who can both steer the ship and tap into a collective mindset; in 2019, she joined John Cale for a three-night live stretch in Paris, and 2021 will see a bass appearance on the track “If I Don’t Hear from You Tonight” from Courtney Barnett’s Things Take Time, Take Time. As Bradford Cox aptly notes about Le Bon, “there are artists who look inwards or outwards, and then there are the very rare ones who transcend either location.”

Perfume Genius

Mistletone proudly presents the return of Perfume Genius with special guests, Hand Habits.

PERFUME GENIUS TOUR DATES:

Thursday June 9, Friday June 10 – Melbourne Recital Centre
with Hand Habits.  Tickets on sale now.
Saturday June 11 – Vivid Sydney @ Carriageworks with Hand Habits.  Tickets here.
Wednesday June 15 – Princess Theatre, Brisbane with Hand Habits. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music. tickets on sale now.
Friday June 17 – Dark Mofo, Hobart. tickets on sale Monday April 11 at 12pm, more info here.

The bold and tender artistic practice of Perfume Genius embodies fragility and empowerment, love and sexuality, trauma and triumph, with emotional honesty and rock-star swagger. Mike Hadreas and his band bring the electrifying Perfume Genius live show to Australia for the first time since 2018, sharing songs from Set My Heart on Fire Immediately along with his beloved previous four albums. Opening for Perfume Genius will be Hand Habits, aka Los Angeles musician Meg Duffy, performing songs from their brilliant art-pop album Fun House (Milk! Records) with a full band for the first time in Australia.

As author Ocean Vuong wrote in his liner notes for  Set My Heart on Fire Immediately:
“Can disruption be beautiful? Can it, through new ways of embodying joy and power, become a way of thinking and living in a world burning at the edges? Hearing Perfume Genius, one realizes that the answer is not only yes—but that it arrived years ago, when Mike Hadreas, at age 26, decided to take his life and art in to his own hands, his own mouth. In doing so, he recast what we understand as music into a weather of feeling and thinking, one where the body (queer, healing, troubled, wounded, possible and gorgeous) sings itself into its future. When listening to Perfume Genius, a powerful joy courses through me because I know the context of its arrival—the costs are right there in the lyrics, in the velvet and smoky bass and synth that verge on synesthesia, the scores at times a violet and tender heat in the ear. That the songs are made resonant through the body’s triumph is a truth this album makes palpable. As a queer artist, this truth nourishes me, inspires me anew. This is music to both fight and make love to. To be shattered and whole with. If sound is, after all, a negotiation/disruption of time, then in the soft storm of Set My Heart On Fire, the future is here. Because it was always here. Welcome home.​”

Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas grew up in Seattle and started his music career in 2008. He released his debut album Learning in 2010 via long-time label home Matador, and it instantly caught the attention of critics. “The songs on Hadreas’ full-length debut are eviscerating and naked,” said Pitchfork, “with heartbreaking sentiments and bruised characterizations delivered in a voice that ranges from an ethereal croon to a slightly cracked warble.” These descriptors became the hallmarks of Perfume Genius — Hadreas’ unique ability to convey emotional vulnerability not only lyrically, but with his impressively nuanced vocals.

His following album, Put Your Back N 2 It was released in 2012 and continued to build both his audience and critical acclaim. 2014’s Too Bright exhibited a massive leap forward in both production and confidence. Co-produced by Adrian Utley of Portishead, the album featured the stand-out single, “Queen.” The track quickly became a queer anthem and a powerful statement of being. Hadreas performed the song on Late Night with David Letterman.

In 2017, Perfume Genius released the GRAMMY-nominated No Shape, an album that would crystalize his fanbase world-wide and bring mainstream awareness to his art. The record was produced by Blake Mills (Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes). “If you listen to the four Perfume Genius albums in chronological order, you can hear Hadreas healing himself in real time, moving toward an emancipation that seems, suddenly, to have come to pass,” said The New Yorker. “The center of his music has always been a defiant delicacy — a ragged, affirmative understanding of despair. ‘No Shape’ finds him unexpectedly victorious, his body exalted.” Over the course of the campaign he appeared on multiple late-night television shows and graced the cover of The Fader.

Perfume Genius’ music has played a central role in a number of films and television including The Goldfinch, The Society, 13 Reasons Why, Booksmart and Eighth Grade. He has collaborated with artists including Christine And The Queens, Sharon Van Etten, Weyes Blood, Cate Le Bon, Anna Calvi, King Princess and more. Hadreas has also collaborated with brands like Prada and W Hotels on special projects. His albums have been nominated for a GRAMMY Award and a GLAAD Media Award and have topped numerous decade-end lists including Billboard’s, Pitchfork’s, Crack’s, Paste’s and more.

Produced by Blake Mills, his fifth studio album, 2020’s Set My Heart on Fire Immediately sees Perfume Genius explore themes of queerness, with homages to 80s pop, classic rock, synth-pop, funk, shoegaze and many other genres. 


‘If you listen to the four Perfume Genius albums in chronological order, you can hear Hadreas healing himself in real time, moving toward an emancipation that seems, suddenly, to have come to pass… The centre of his music has always been a defiant delicacy- a ragged, affirmative understanding of despair’ – The New Yorker 

Hand Habits

HAND HABITS TOUR DATES:

Thursday June 9 + Friday June 10 – Melbourne Recital Centre with Perfume Genius. Tickets on sale now.
Saturday June 11 – Vivid Sydney @ Carriageworks with Perfume Genius.  Tickets here.
Wednesday June 15 – Princess Theatre, Brisbane with Perfume Genius. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music. tickets on sale now.
Friday June 17 – Dark Mofo, Hobart. tickets on sale Monday April 11 at 12pm, more info here.

Mistletone proudly presents Hand Habits, brilliant Los Angeles musician Meg Duffywith a full band for the first time in Australia. Hand Habits open for Perfume Genius in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, then perform a headline show at Dark Mofo, Hobart.

Guitar shredder of choice for everyone from Perfume Genius and Weyes Blood to War on Drugs and Kevin Morby, Meg Duffy’s solo practice as Hand Habits turns vulnerable queer confessions into ecstatic mini pop masterpieces. 

Fun House (Milk! Records) is the most ambitious Hand Habits album to date. Produced by Sasami Ashworth (SASAMI) and engineered by Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), the record was not intended as a reaction to the pandemic, but it was very much the result of taking a difficult, if much-needed, moment of pause.

While Fun House shares some of the same hallmarks as previous Hand Habits releases —a kind of outré queer sensibility, a gentle sense of vulnerability — the record is a marked sonic departure from the often muted tones of 2019’s Placeholder and 2017’s Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void). The eleven tracks on Fun House sparkle, moving in unexpected directions and represent the turning of a corner, a means of processing grief, trauma, and recovery while coming to a deeper understanding of one’s own history and what it means to step into your own power.

What started out as a personal reckoning eventually blossomed into a fruitful and convenient means of making new music. Grounded in LA and sharing a house with Ashworth and Thomas, who also runs a studio space in the building, Duffy began to flesh out the songs that would eventually become Fun House. Emboldened by going into therapy and coaxed by Ashworth to push the songs into unexpected new shapes, the resulting music was more acutely personal and stylistically adventurous than anything they had attempted before. The new songs also became a prism through which Duffy could begin to self-actualise in a new way.

There is a moment halfway through Fun House where Duffy asks the question, “How many times must I rewind the tape?” It’s a fitting question planted squarely in the middle of a sonically adventurous record concerned largely with making sense and taking stock. How much time must we spend examining our own past in order to fully understand it? How can we safely acknowledge pain in order to release it and fully actualise who we are supposed to be? Buffeted by strings, synths, and a gently-shook tambourine, the aptly-titled track, ‘The Answer,’ highlights the emotional engine at the heart of the record. “I know the answer,” Duffy sings, “Here’s what I hope to find – it’s always mine.” 

“I felt a massive shift in the way that I was seeing the world and seeing myself, moving through certain emotional patterns and behavioral patterns, and really taking them apart,” explains Duffy“Sasami empowered me to take up a lot of different sonic spaces and challenged me to rethink these limitations that I had about my own identity. I wouldn’t allow myself to step into certain roles because of the little box I was putting myself in based on all of these false narratives that I had come to believe about myself. I think this also coincides with my trans identity too, because so much of that journey for me has been me really fighting against what I’m not “allowed” to be.”

While Fun House shares some of the same hallmarks as previous Hand Habits releases — a kind of outré queer sensibility, a gentle sense of vulnerability — the record is a marked sonic departure from the often muted tones of 2019’s Placeholder and 2017’s Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void). Instead, the tracks on Fun House sparkle, moving in unexpected directions and eschewing any specific genre. Tracks like ‘Aquamarine‘ and ‘More than Love‘ package narratives about loss, romantic longing, and childhood trauma inside polished synth pop (“Suicide / Lost a life / Well then who am I? / Why can’t you talk about it?”) while ‘Gold Rust‘ and ‘Concrete and Feathers‘ have a ragged, Neil Young quality.

Friend and collaborator Mike Hadreas (Perfume Genius) contributes vocals on ‘No Difference‘ and  ‘Just to Hear You,’ making for one of the record’s most sanguine moments, his voice providing a perfect counterpoint to Duffy. The push/pull of styles, paired with songs that move deftly between the present and past, give the record a wildly diverse,  hall of mirrors quality that befits its name. Where previous Hand Habits records could be fairly insular affairs, both in their creation and their execution, Fun House feels ebullient, lush, a fully-realised conversation.  

Fun House represents the turning of a corner, a means of processing grief, trauma, and recovery while coming to a deeper understanding of one’s own history and what it means to step into your own power. It’s also, as Duffy imagines it, a testament to the power of creative community. 

“I’m such a collaborative person and that’s where I get nourishment from,” Duffy explains. “That’s why I’m constantly playing in other people’s bands — Perfume Genius, Kevin Morby, Sylvan Esso etc. — and playing on other people’s records. It’s an open system for me, fresh energy, flow, and perspectives. I enjoy stepping into these other roles and taking direction. This time around, I wanted to have that experience with my own music. Also, I think it’s good to step back sometimes and question your own process and why you do what you do. The reason I make music is because I’m interested in connecting with people. I’m not talking to a specific ‘you’ when I’m singing a song. I’m talking to God. I’m talking to the void. It’s a little like casting a spell. And if you’re able to feel moved by it, I’m not thinking that you’re so moved by the tragedy of ‘my’ life or ‘my’ experience, but it’s maybe just that you can relate to the feeling of it. You want people to be able to project their own experiences onto this feeling that you’re trying to create and communicate. That’s the way the spell works. In order for other people to feel it, I have to make sure I’m feeling it too. And with these songs, I really do.”

Arab Strap

Mistletone is overjoyed to announce Arab Strap performing as a full band for the first time ever in Australia and for one show only at that!

ARAB STRAP TOUR DATE:

Friday June 3 — RISING Melbourne @ The Forum with special guests Xylouris White. More info here, sign up for presales here.

“It’s about hopelessness and darkness,” says Aidan Moffat. “But in a fun way.” The Arab Strap frontman is speaking about the band’s 7th studio album and their first since 2005’s The Last Romance.

The pioneering Falkirk duo of Moffat and Malcolm Middleton called it a day in 2006 but got back together 10 years later to perform a series of acclaimed and sold out shows. “We really enjoyed doing those gigs,” recalls Middleton. “So it made sense to try writing together again”.

Prior to splitting up the band released a string of acclaimed releases spanning albums such as Philophobia, The Red Thread and Monday At The Hug and Pint, several EPs and that most difficult of tasks: a genuinely stunning live album via Mad for Sadness.

Arab Strap started out as an intimate project with home-recorded tapes shared between friends, but after the unexpected success of their inimitable debut single ‘The First Big Weekend’ they quickly found themselves, along with pals Mogwai, as some of the most exciting and cherished music coming out of Scotland. The band’s first gig was recorded live for John Peel, who became an early devotee. The band went from indie record label Chemikal Underground onto the major label Go! Beat and then back again to Chemikal, touring the world and funnelling life’s experiences into a unique concoction of music that explored beauty, sadness, intoxicants, sex, love, and death all rolled into one.

Despite them being a pinnacle group of the era, Moffat makes it clear that the aim is not to “recapture the 90s” but instead to create a distinctly new album, with new tools, sounds and a forward moving sense of exploration. “This album feels like its own new thing to me,” he says. “It’s definitely Arab Strap, but an older and wiser one, and quite probably a better one.”

Across the 11 tracks, the band have tapped into their core sonic foundations and what made so many people fall for them but also stretched it out into new terrain. The deft mix of post-rock soundscapes, subtle electronics, clicking drum beats, swelling strings and Moffat’’s incomparable half-sung, half-spoken vocals are all present, but so too is a variety of new additions from blasts of woozy saxophone to disco grooves and a rich immersive production that plunges you deep into the stories. “We’ve had enough distance from our earlier work to reappraise and dissect the good and bad elements of what we did,” says Middleton. “Not many bands get to do this, so it’s great to split up.”

Whilst Moffat jokingly says “we’re still doing what we always do: Malcolm gives me some guitar parts then I’ll fuck about with them and put some drum machines and words over the top”. 

The band has reconnected with producer Paul Savage, with just the three of them in the studio, as it was the very first time around. “Paul brings comfort and trust,” says Middleton, “And a sense of continuity.” Savage’s light touch approach, combined with the band’s evolved craft, has created a potent production that brings out the best in the duo. “I’ve never been interested in making slick records,” says Moffat. “But the new stuff sounds much fuller, brighter and better because we actually know what we’re doing. I think for a long time we didn’t know how to express what we wanted in a studio.”  

One of the benefits of the band splitting up, coming back to perform live, and then releasing the album as and when they felt it was ready, is having plenty of time. “The initial idea after our 2016 gigs was just to mess around and see if any songs came,” says Middleton. “So we had three years to hammer things out before even setting foot in a studio.” The result is an album that manages to capture the reconnected essence of the pair playing live again, harnessing that reborn but deep-rooted intuition, along with use of time, space and thought to allow the album to grow into its own natural thing. It’s a record that manages to feel like both evolution and revolution: a continuation of what has come before but also a bold leap into the future.  

The album opens with ‘The Turning Of Our Bones’, a comically dark metaphor for the band’s own rebirth that Moffat describes as being about “resurrection and shagging”. Widely covered upon its release with countless radio plays, it’s an immediate addition to some of the band’s greatest work, unfurling via hypnotic beats, infectious grooves and spiralling guitar lines as Moffat skips between narrator and crooner. It sets the tone for an album that often plunges into dark territory, although this doesn’t necessarily manifest via stilted morbidity but simply by being rooted in nocturnal exploration. “The general theme of the album is what people turn to in times of need,” says Moffat. “And how they can hide in the night.”

This theme rears its head in a variety of ways and places. ‘Another Clockwork Day’ is a strangely poignant and beautiful song about a man masturbating in the night as his partner sleeps. Although of course like a lot of Moffat’s lyrics, it’s not simply about just that. Instead the song, backed by Middleton’s sparse yet delicately twisting acoustic guitar, uses the act as a means to explore nostalgia, lost time gone by, love, an ever-changing world and crepuscular creatures of habit.

‘Kebabylon’ merges hissing beats and looping guitar melodies to explore a night-time odyssey that was inspired by Moffat reading a story about overnight road sweepers in London. Elsewhere ‘Fable of the Urban Fox’ shifts from a folk shuffle to a soaring string-laden charge, and powerfully uses the story as an allegory for the racist treatment of migrants, whereas ‘Sleeper’ and ‘Just Enough’ tackle themes of addiction and self-harm.

However, despite the seeming bleakness of some subjects, the album marries the darker underbelly of life, and its lingering sense of hopelessness, with a quiet buoyancy, which coupled with the expansive sense of sonic experimentation results in something as introspective as it is enlivening. As Middleton told the Guardian when they profiled the band upon news of their return, “There’s no point getting back together to release mediocrity.”

Lucy Dacus

Mistletone proudly presents the return of Lucy Dacus and her band, bringing her brilliant new album Home Video (out now on Matador / Remote Control) to RISING Melbourne (watch this space for more).

LUCY DACUS TOUR DATES:

Wednesday June 8RISING Melbourne @ The Forum with special guests Snowy Band. Sign up at rising.melbourne for  presales here.
Friday June 10: The Metro Sydney. Presales open Wednesday March 23, 8am; presales link here.
(more Australian dates coming sooon!)


Continuing to showcase her incredible storytelling and songwriting, Home Video is Dacus’ “most personal album to date, recounting her coming of age, in Richmond, Virginia. She sings about lost friendships, queer love affairs, curfews, and other adolescent pursuits” (New Yorker).

Home Video displays her ability to use the personal as portal into the universal as the songs capture that specific moment in time growing up where emotions and relationships start becoming more complex — the joys, the excitement, the confusion, and even the heartbreak of going through the process of discovering who you are and where people fit in your life and where you fit in theirs.

Dacus’ voice, both audible and on the page, has a healer’s power to soothe and ground and reckon.

There are a thousand truisms about home and childhood, none of them true but all of them honest. It’s natural to want to tidy those earliest memories into a story so palatable and simple that you never have to read again. A home video promises to give your memories back with a certificate of fact— but the footage isn’t the feeling. Who is just out of frame? What does the soft focus obscure? How did the recording itself change the scene?

Some scrutinise the past and some never look back and Lucy Dacus, a lifelong writer and close reader, has long been the former sort. “The past doesn’t change,” Dacus said. “Even if a memory is of a time I didn’t feel safe, there’s safety in looking at it, in its stability.”

Many Home Videosongs start the way a memoir might—“In the summer of ’07 I was sure I’d go to heaven, but I was hedging my bets at VBS”—and all of them have the compassion, humor, and honesty of the best autobiographical writing. Most importantly and mysteriously, this album displays Dacus’s ability to use the personal as portal into the universal. “I can’t hide behind generalizations or fiction anymore,” Dacus says, though talking about these songs, she admits, makes her ache.

While there’s a nostalgic tint to much of Dacus’s work, the obliquely told stories in past songs are depicted here with greater specificity. Triple Dog Dare recounts young, queer love complicated and forbidden by religion. The toxic relationship depicted in Partner in Crime is filled with pining, deceit, and meeting curfew. (“My heart’s on my sleeve/ it’s embarrassing/ the pulpy thing, beating.”) Christine is an elegiac ballad about a close friend vanishing into an inhibiting relationship.

As is often the case with Dacus, these songs are a study in contrast. In Hot & Heavy and she sings powerfully about blushing and diffidence, while the song Thumbs contains an elegant fantasy about the brutal murder of a close friend’s no-good father. After performing Thumbs during the nearly nonstop tours for her first two albums, it quickly became a white whale to Dacus fans, who have been counting the days until its release just as we’ve all awaited the end of this endless quarantine.

While all that touring made Lucy long to re-root in her hometown, her sudden acclaim filled Richmond with funhouse distortions of herself. People she didn’t know were looking at her like they knew her better than she knew herself. Strangers showed up at her front door. “You used to be so sweet,” she sings on the opening track, “now you’re a firecracker on a crowded street.” That truism, both true and false—you can’t go home again—seemed to taunt her at the very time she needed home the most.

In August 2019, after a too much touring then a month of silence, it was time to go back to Trace Horse Studio in Nashville—Jacob Blizard, Collin Pastore, and Jake Finch, her loyal friends and collaborators were at her side again. Dacus’s boygenius bandmates, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker sang a loving chorus on Please Stay and Going Going Gone while each recorded solo songs during the same session. Dacus’s resulting record—full of arrhythmic heartbeat percussion and backgrounds of water-warped pipe organ— was mixed by Shawn Everett and mastered by Bob Ludwig.

Loyal Dacus listeners may notice that the melodies here are lower and more contained, at times feeling as intimate as a whisper. The vulnerability of these songs, so often about the intense places where different sorts of love meet and warp, required this approach. “When you told me ‘bout your first time, a soccer player at the senior high,” she sings in Cartwheel, “I felt my body crumple to the floor. Betrayal like I’d never felt before.” Yet in Partner in Crime, Dacus marries content and form in a strikingly different way, using uncharacteristic Autotune in a song about duplicity and soft coercion.

That Home Video arrives at the end of this locked down, fearful era seems as preordained as the messages within. “I don’t necessarily think that I’m supposed to understand the songs just because I made them,” Dacus says into a screen, “I feel like there’s this person who has been in me my whole life and I’m doing my best to represent them.” After more than a year of being homebound, in a time when screens and video calls were sometimes our only form of contact, looking backward was a natural habit for many. If we haven’t learned it already, this album is a gorgeous example of the transformative power of vulnerability. Dacus’s voice, both audible and on the page, has a healer’s power to soothe and ground and reckon.

Ana Roxanne

Mistletone proudly presents Ana Roxanne, gracing our shores for the first time to perform at RISING Melbourne.

ANA ROXANNE TOUR DATES:

Sunday June 5 – RISING Melbourne @ Max Watt’s with special guests Wilson Tanner and YL Hooi. Sign up for presales here.
Saturday June 11 – City Recital Hall Sydney with Midori Takada. Tickets on sale now.

Ana Roxanne is a New York based musician working at the interzone of electric meditation, dream pop, and ambient songcraft. Her self-titled EP was later reissued by Leaving Records before signing with Kranky for her official full-length debut, 2020’s Because Of A Flower.

Her inspirations span the secular (R&B divas of 1980’s and 90’s) and the spiritual (Catholic choral traditions in which she was raised), synthesised into a uniquely intuitive sonic language, equal parts atmospheric and ancient, healing and hermetic.

Spiritualized

Mistletone is thrilled to present Spiritualized, performing two Australian shows only presenting their new album, Everything Was Beautiful.

SPIRITUALIZED TOUR DATES:

Thursday June 16 – Vivid Sydney. tickets on sale now.
Friday June 17 – Dark Mofo, Hobart. tickets on sale Monday April 11 at 12pm, more info here.

While some people imploded in the lockdowns and isolation of the epidemic, others were thriving. 

“I felt like I’d been in training for this my whole life” said J Spaceman in a text conversation last June or so.  

He was referring to his fondness of isolation and when you reframe loneliness as “beautiful solitude” then it isn’t so bad. 

He would walk through an empty “Roman London” where “even the sirens had stopped singing” and where the world was “full of birdsong and strangeness and no con-trails.” 

He used the birdsong walks to listen and try and make sense of all the music playing in his head. The mixers and mixes of his new record, a ninth studio album, weren’t working out yet. 

Spaceman plays 16 different instruments on Everything Was Beautiful which was put down at 11 different studios, as well as at his home. Also he employed, more than 30 musicians and singers including his daughter Poppy, long-time collaborator and friend John Coxon, string and brass sections, choirs and finger bells and chimes from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. So, there’s a lot going on. 

“There was so much information on it that the slightest move would unbalance it, but going around in circles is important to me. Not like you’re spiraling out of control but you’re going around and around and on each revolution you hold onto the good each time. Sure, you get mistakes as well, but you hold on to some of those too and that’s how you kind of… achieve. Well, you get there.” 

Eventually the mixes got there and Everything Was Beautiful was achieved.  

The result is some of the most “live” sounding recordings that Spiritualized have released since the Live At The Albert Hall record of 1998, around the time of Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space. 

The opening track “Always Together With You” is a reworking / supercharging of a track originally released in demo quality in 2014. This new version is a perfect Spiritualized song; a breathtaking, hard edged, psychedelic pop tune where themes of high romance and space travel collide. In one of the most sublime refrains of the band’s career, the backing singers call out “if you gotta lonely heart too”.  

And don’t we all? Sometimes? 

On “Best Thing You Never Had”, we meet characters who blew their mind but “never had a mind to blow” over backing instrumentation that sounds like a New Orleans funeral procession band who’ve been drinking thinners all night. It’s possible this Stones at Exile-erastomp is auto-biographical, but maybe not. It’s hard to remember. 

“Let It Bleed (For Iggy)’’ is heavy eye-lids and the romantic intricacies of emotional intimacies, a honeyed song that careers into choir-fueled intensity. A country number “Crazy” is even sweeter, a lorazepam Tammy Wynette ballad with backing vocals by Nikki Lane.  

Spaceman: “When we were mixing, I relied a little bit on what I knew of Ladies And Gentlemen…, that if you start throwing mixes together, it stops sounding like what you already know from the past. Some people have a method of making records like jamming Lego bricks together into something they already know but I wanted to do this differently. 

“And like the last record (And Nothing Hurt) was made to go out and perform live, we did the same thing with this, but even more so. We’ve tried to play stuff from this album live before but it never really worked but now we’ve got the record how we want it to be, we have something to launch from.” 

Of all the songs on Everything Was Beautiful, the three contained on the b-side are the ones that already sound close to the intensity of Spiritualized’s live shows. The final piece of the recording process involved adding some clarinets and vocals to give “it all a sense of proper chaos”.

Spaceman wrote the lyrics to “The Mainline Song” one night while watching the protests happening in America on TV. And if that track is like driving your car too fast with the one you love in a city you’ve never been before, then the following tune The A Song (Laid In Your Arms)” is driving that thing off the edge of the world.  

A stupendously epic tale of “words that are old as the hills / cooked on a diet of mushrooms and pills / One man’s crime is another man’s thrill and we’re gone”, it’s a mountainous song, a glorious noise; screeching sax, clarinets, free jazz, improvised chaotic squall, a seething mass of Spaceman rock and roll and its seven minutes are over far too soon. 

The last (nine minute) tune “I’m Coming Home Again” recalls the atmosphere of “Cop Shoot Cop” from Ladies and Gentlemen; a brooding, repetitive, swamp song, building and building, abetted by a choir to get deeper and darker over time, with lyrics like: “I’ve kind of had it with philosophy cos I’m thinking I am but I’m failing to be”.  

“The last track was always the thing that the record, hinged around. I wanted it to be almost like a dub, something that just hung in the air. 

“It develops quite slow and it seemed to be an almost easy option to sort of make it a really screaming free form thing but it’s kind of restrained and held back and it just kind of hangs.” 

It hangs, it floats and then it’s over.  

And you can go back and do it all over again because there are so many layers and layers of sound in this thing that to listen to it once would be selling yourself short. 

The artwork is designed once again with Mark Farrow. If you buy the vinyl you can pop a pill box out of the sleeve, revealing gold foil underneath, and assemble the Braille-embossed little thing and put it somewhere in the house. The box set has 8 of them. Literally a boxset. It looks more beautiful in the flesh.  

About the boxes: “Farrow and I were talking about what we should do and we just said, ‘It’s called Everything Is Beautiful, how could you not have a pill?’” 

All these layers, all these details, the year-long mixes, the making sense of it all and the lives lived within these lyrics; for somebody so famously unconfident of his own abilities, isn’t this a punishing thing to keep doing? 

“Yeah, but I like what I do. There’s a line from Jonathan Meades that’s about having all the attributes to being an artist. ‘Paranoia, vanity, selfishness, egotism, sycophancy, resentment, moral nullity and more idiot than idiot savant.’ 

“And that’s what it feels like, this kind of thing. You’re your own worst enemy and biggest supporter.  

“There’s a ‘Of course this is worth it. It’s me’ and then this kind of deep doubt of ‘What the fuck is this all about?’ 

“And then ‘Why is it important?’ and then knowing there’s no easy answer.  

“But it’s there. I know it’s there.” 

Ty Segall & Freedom Band

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

TY SEGALL & FREEDOM BAND TOUR DATES:
WED JAN 18 – PERTH: THE RECHABITE. Presale opens Friday July 1, 9am; presale link here.
FRI JAN 20 – ANGLESEA, VIC: MEMORIAL HALL. Tickets on sale here.
SAT JAN 21- MELBOURNE: THE FORUM. Pre-sale now open here.
TUE JAN 24 – WOLLONGONG – UNIBAR. Pre-sale now open here. pre-sale code: TYPARTY
WED JAN 25 – SYDNEY – THE METRO. Pre-sale now open here.
FRI JAN 27 – BRISBANE – PRINCESS THEATRE. Pre-sale now open here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.
SAT JAN 28 – GOLD COAST – MIAMI MARKETTA. Pre-sale now open here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.
SUN JAN 29 – BYRON BAY – THE NORTHERN. Pre-sale now open here. Presented by Jet Black Cat Music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo by Denée Segall
poster artwork by Callum Rooney @callumrooneyart

Past Tours

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.

Bachelorette

Bachelorette Australian tour 2011 (Melbourne Festival sideshow). Artwork by Bjenny Montero.

Bachelorette Australian tour 2010 (supporting The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart + melbourne side show). Artwork by Gloz.

bachelorette

Bachelorette Australian tour 2007.

The Bats

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The Bats Australian tour 2017. Artwork by Robert Scott; design by Alex Fregon.

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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.

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The Bats Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

bats

The Bats Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

Beach House

BEACH HOUSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2019

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BEACH HOUSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

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 were the “voice” of Sydney Festival with Norway featured as the music bed for the beautiful hand-drawn animation television ad; watch ithere.

 

beach house

BEACH HOUSE AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2008. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.

BBML

Artwork by Alex Fregon

Black Dice

Black Dice Australian tour 2011. Artwork by Bjenny Montero.

Cass McCombs

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CASS MCCOMBS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016.
Poster artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

Cass-All

CASS MCCOMBS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2014. 
Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

CASS MCCOMBS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2012. 
Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

 

Cate Le Bon

Mistletone is excited to present the great Cate Le Bon, touring Australia with her brilliant band and playing songs from her intoxicating, Mercury Prize-shortlisted album, Reward (out now on Mexican Summer via Rocket). Tickets on sale now!

CATE LE BON TOUR DATES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Chills

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The Chills Australian tour 2016 (+ Sydney Festival). Poster artwork by Bruce Mahalski

The Chills Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Craig Easton.

 

Circuit des Yeux

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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.

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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: The Chicago Chronicle

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 Clean

 

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The Clean Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Alex Fregon

 


The Clean Australian tour 2011. Artwork by Alex Fregon

 

Connan Mockasin

Connan Mockasin Australian tour 2019

Connan Mockasin A2

Connan Mockasin Australian tour 2015 (+ Laneway Festival nationally)

Artwork by Triforce (Ben Montero x Farmer Dave Scher x Eric Ernest Johnson)

Daedelus


Artwork by Bjenny Montero

DAEDELUS TOUR DATES:

BRISBANE: Wednesday, November 23 @ Bridge Club with Outerwaves (EP Launch), Tincture, Dot.AY vs Rubijaq + Dank Morass DJs. Tickets on sale from Moshtix. Presented by Silo Arts and Mistletone.

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.

SYDNEY: Friday, November 25 @ Goodgod Small Club with special guests Collarbones and Galapagoose. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.

MELBOURNE: Saturday, November 26: DJ Kidz Party @ ArtPlay with Spoonbill + VJ John Power. Presented by Melbourne Music Week as part of the DJ Kidz program. Ticketing details & more information 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.

MELBOURNE: Sunday, November 27 @ RAOBGAB with special guests Collarbones and Galapagoose + DJ Mack Daddy Albino Dwarf. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.

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

 

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DAN DEACON AUSTRALIAN TOUR, 2015:

Sunday 18 January – MONA FOMA, Hobart.
Thursday January 22 – Sydney Festival.
Saturday January 24Sugar 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.

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Dan Deacon Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Celeste Potter.

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Dan Deacon Australian tour 2008.

Dent May

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Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulule Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Nadiah Abdulrahim.

 

DIIV

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Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

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.

Dungen

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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.”

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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.

El Guincho

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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

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EL GUINCHO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2009. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

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EL GUINCHO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2008. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

Factory Floor

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Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

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.

The Field

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The Field Australian tour 2017. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

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The Field Australian tour 2015 (+ Melbourne Festival). Artwork by Sam Jones.

The Field Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

 

Forest Swords

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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

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

GENEVA JACUZZI TOUR DATES:

SYDNEY: Friday March 2 @ Oxford Art Factory with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Richard In Your Mind + Erik Omen. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. Presented by Mistletone and The Thousands.

MELBOURNE: Sunday March 4 @ Corner Hotel with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Lost Animal + Montero. Tickets on sale now from the venue. Presented by Mistletone, Triple R and The Thousands.

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.

ADELAIDE: Sunday March 11: Adelaide Festival with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Tickets on sale now from BASS ONLINE or phone: 131 246.

Mistletone is utterly amped to announce that Geneva Jacuzzi is joining the Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour.

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

GWENNO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2022: artwork by George Gillies.

GWENNO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2019: Melbourne Recital Centre + WOMADelaide.

Gwenno A3_web_all dates GWENNO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016: Melbourne Festival + club shows.

Hand Habits

artwork by George Gillies

HAND HABITS TOUR DATES:

WOLLONGONG: Saturday February 29 @ Farmer & the Owl. Tickets on sale here.
BRISBANE: Sunday March 1 @ Nine Lives Festival. Tickets on sale here.
BRISBANE: Monday March 2 @ The Junk Bar. Tickets on sale here.
SYDNEY: Wednesday March 4 @ Enmore Theatre w/ Aldous Harding. Tickets on sale here.
CASTLEMAINE: Thursday March 12 @ Bridge Hotel w/ Grand Salvo. Tickets on sale here.
MELBOURNE: Saturday March 14 @ Estonian House, Brunswick Music Festival with June Jones + Grace Cummings. Tickets on sale here.

Mistletone proudly presents Hand Habits on their first Australian tour.

Meg Duffy grew up in a small town in upstate New York and they cut their teeth as a session guitarist and touring member of Kevin Morby’s band. The Hand Habits project emerged after Meg moved to Los Angeles; it started as a private songwriting outlet but soon evolved into a fully-fledged band with Meg at the helm.

pic: Graham Tolbert

Hand Habits’ debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), was released by Woodsist Records in 2017. The LP was entirely self-produced and recorded in Meg’s home during spare moments when they weren’t touring. This lush, homespun collection of folk songs that found Meg in an exploratory state as an artist moving out on their own for the first time. Two years later, Hand Habits returned with the stunning album, placeholder, released locally by Milk! Records.

Wildfires raged in Southern California when Meg wrote the bulk of placeholder, and the anxiety that came with living in L.A. during that time exposes itself throughout these songs. “Fire is such a powerful symbol. It’s destructive, but it’s also generative,” Meg says. References to that particular mindset abound on placeholder, most notably on the stand-out track “wildfire,” but it creeps into other songs, too. Separating side A from side B is a MIDI interlude titled “heat,” which finds Meg repeating, “Heat beyond the lines of passion,” a line borrowed from Jeanette Winterson’s novel The Passion. Later, on the sweet and yearning “what lovers do,” Meg likens desire to a glowing fire in a cadence that recalls Sharon Van Etten. 

Meg recently announced a “wildfire covers” EP (available via Bandcamp) with five covers of “wildfire” by Angel OlsenTara Jane O’NeilLomeldaJohn Andrews, and Kacey Johansing, with proceeds going to toward the Amazon Conservation Association. In a statement, they said:

“Being a touring musician eight months out of the year, you are exposed to a lot of varying degrees of climate change effects in a short period of time. From the gasoline that’s used to fuel touring vehicles, to the massive amount of plastic waste at the end of every show, to the carbon emissions released into the air by all the travel, it’s often not the most environmentally conscious career. I wanted to contribute, even if in a small way, to the efforts at work by the people at the Amazon Conservation Association for being dedicated to preserving such a vast and heartbreakingly crucial part of our ecosystem that has been threatened by wildfires, deforestation, and the effects of climate change. 

“I believe that writing and performing music can be a healing force, used for good, and not always for capitalizing on emotions and commodifying a personality or lifestyle. People need to be able to relate to each other, in times of joy, and especially in times of sorrow or struggle. The Wildfire Compilation, in partnership with Bandcamp and Saddle Creek, will be donating all of its funds raised to the ACA in hopes to lend a helping hand to those on the front lines of fighting climate change in places that may seem inaccessible to those of us unable to travel at length. I chose five artists, Tara Jane O’Neil, Lomelda, John Andrews, Angel Olsen, and Kacey Johansing to interpret and cover my song “wildfire” that I wrote during the California Wildfires in 2017. All of these artists are dear friends and have all taught me a lot about the complexity of emotions in music.”

To make this album, Meg chose to work in a studio and bring in collaborators, entrusting them with what had previously been a very personal creative process. Over the course of 12 tracks, Meg emerges with new confidence as both a bandleader and singer. placeholder is as tender and immediate as anything Meg’s ever written, but it’s also intensely focused and refined, the work of a meticulous musician ready to share their singular vision with the world. 

The name placeholder stems from Meg’s fascination with the undefinable. Their songs serve as openings –carved-out spaces waiting to be endowed with meaning. As a lyricist, Meg is drawn to the in-between, and the songs on this new album primarily confront the ways in which certain experiences can serve as a stepping stone on the road to self-discovery. “A big aspect of my songwriting and the way I move through the world depends on my relationships with people. The songs on placeholder are about accountability and forgiveness,” Meg says. “These are all real stories. I don’t fictionalize much.”

placeholder opens with the title track which on its surface is about a breakup. “Oh but I was just a placeholder/ A lesson to be learned,” a scorned Meg sings over a lush bed of twangy guitars. The blame quickly shifts, though, as Meg begins to take on partial responsibility for the partnership’s collapse: “Oh but now you are just a placeholder/ Blinded by desire/ Oh now you’re just a placeholder for someone wasting time.”

Nothing in Meg’s world is as simple as black and white, right or wrong. An openness to nuance drives revelation in these songs. “I value the closeness I share with my chosen family and I’m interested in queering relationships in my music. The relationships in my life expand my capacity to love because the lines between romance and friendship are often blurred,” Meg explains.

The bonds Meg addresses on placeholder extend beyond the bounds of romance. On “can’t calm down,” Meg contemplates inherited trauma and questions whether it’s possible for someone to upend patterns of familial suffering. Relatedly, the closing track, “book on how to change part II,” refers back to Meg’s mother, who died when they were young. It’s a simultaneously aching and reassuring song, buoyed in part by a saxophone and Meg’s pointed harmonies that bring levity to painful subject matter.

The flames that fuel placeholder occasionally billow out, but most often these songs are warm and comforting –a space listeners can return to again and again when theoutside world starts to overwhelm. Meg describes these songs as their most direct to date, crafted with clear intention. “It’s less of a submerged landscape and more a concise series of thoughts,” Meg explains.

Instrumentally, placeholder can be situated alongside some of Meg’s folk-adjacent contemporaries like Angel Olsen or Big Thief, and the guitar work on this album proves that Meg continues to be one of the finest young musicians working today. placeholder is another entry in the Hand Habits songbook, but it’s also a valuable testament of our time. While placeholder inspires a sense of ease, simple questions rarely beget easy answers and Meg honors the indescribable joy and profound sorrow that comes with figuring things out, one step at a time.

High Places

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High Places Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Amy Borrell.

Holly Herndon

Mistletone proudly presents Holly Herndonwith her PROTO ensemble, performing at Mona Foma in Launceston, where she will also present an Artist Talk, and her first Melbourne show at Melbourne Recital Centre. 

HOLLY HERNDON TOUR DATES:

LAUNCESTON: SATURDAY JANUARY 18 @ MONA FOMA (performance). 
Tickets & info here.
LAUNCESTON: SUNDAY JANUARY 19 @ MONA FOMA (artist talk). Tickets & info here.
MELBOURNE: TUESDAY JANUARY 21 @ Melbourne Recital Centre. Presale: Mon 21 October 10am here (promo code: HOLLY). General on sale: Wed 23 October 10am, here.

Trailblazing electronic musician Holly Herndon presents her vision of a digital future, exploring technology’s potential through artificial intelligence, vocals and visuals.

Holly Herndon lifted the lid on the creative process of her latest album via Birthing PROTO, a 6-minute documentary directed by Theresa Baumgartner and Zoya Bassi:

Filmed in Holly’s home studio and at Volksbühne, where Herndon headlined recently with her vocal ensemble, it offers an insight into the making of third studio record PROTO and translating their extraordinary work to the live stage. 

Technology empowers creation of all kinds. By way of modern advancements and innovations, new artforms prosper, life expectancy extends, and artificial intelligence gains awareness. The capabilities of such developments should be explored, employed, and embraced. Rather than dimming and darkening the future, they burgeon and brighten it. 

Case in point, Holly Herndon operates at the nexus of technological evolution and musical catharsis. On her third full-length album PROTO (4AD / Remote Control), the performer and composer fronts and conducts an electronic pop choir comprised of both human and A.I. voices over a musical palette that encompasses everything from synths to Sacred Harp stylings. 

“Our vision of technology is that it enables relationships and liberates us to be more human together, which it so often is not designed to do” she exclaims. “There’s a pervasive narrative of it as dehumanizing. We stand in contrast to that. It’s not like we want to run away from technology; we’re very much running towards it.” 

Since her arrival in 2012, Holly has successfully mined the edges of electronic and Avant Garde pop and emerged with a dynamic and disruptive canon of her own. Her musical palette started to expand as she utilized the laptop as “the most intimate instrument,” cultivating live voice processing systems and eventually developing custom vocal patches to construct experimental pieces to be performed in real-time.

As she researched platform politics for her phD at Stanford, she assembled her 2015 sophomore offering PlatformPlatform closed out 2015 by gracing year-end lists from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, and The Wire. In the aftermath, Radiohead handpicked her to open up its European tour.

Along the way, she quietly pieced together what would become PROTO alongside cohort Matthew Dryhurst. In addition to assembling a Berlin-based “ensemble of vocalists,” Holly and Mat “gave birth to an A.I. baby” affectionately named Spawn—who also joined the fold. 

Housed in a souped-up gaming PC, they set no learning parameters for Spawn. Instead, custom converters warped openly available machine-leaning programming to push code to actually manipulate sound. As a result, Spawn learned on her own from Mat, Holly, and collaborator and developer Jules LaPlace. Holly and Mat hosted the other ensemble vocalists at their home during weekly “learning sessions.” They served soup, improvised, and sang as their synthetic child mimicked. 

“We wanted to put together a community of artists for this,” she goes on. “There’s no escaping the hours in front of the computer, but we also craved a very physical in-person sound and the experience of music-making. Choosing to work with an ensemble of humans was a statement of principle that also relates to A.I. I don’t want to live in a world in which humans are automated off stage. Spawn was an ensemble member. Everyone was unique, but could work together as a unit. The meetings created a baseline trust, so they’d be willing to try something seemingly crazy,” laughs Holly. 

Holy Fuck

Holy Fuck poster

Holy Fuck Australian tour 2014 + Groovin The Moo Festival. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

Holy Fuck Australian tour 2011 + Laneway Festival. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

Holy Fuck Australian tour 2008 + Meredith Music Festival. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic & Alex Fregon.

HTRK

HTRK TOUR DATES:

MELBOURNE: Saturday, November 19 @ RAOBGAB with Lost Animal, New War + Free Choice Duo * SOLD OUT!

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.

SYDNEY: Thursday, November 24 @ Goodgod Small Club with Lost Animal + Kirin J. Callinan. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix.

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.

Jenny Hval

Jenny Hval 2_BROCHURE
photo by Jenny Berger Myhre

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 ScienceApocalypse, 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

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Jessica Pratt Australian tour, December 2015. Artwork by Aaron Billings.

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Jessica Pratt Australian tour, December 2015. Artwork by Aaron Billings

 

John Maus

JOHN MAUS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2019. LAYOUT BY CARL BREITKREUZ.

JOHN MAUS TOUR DATES 2012:

SYDNEY: Wed 11th January @ Sydney Festival w/- Dan Deacon Ensemble 

BRISBANE: Thu 12th January @ Woodland w/- Dan Deacon Ensemble and Toy Balloon. 

MELBOURNE: Friday January 13: Mistletone Fright Night @ The Corner w/- Dan Deacon Ensemble, Rat vs Possum, Jonti, Montero and Parking Lot Experiments

MELBOURNE: Saturday January 14 @ Sugar Mountain Festival w/- Deerhoof, Tune-Yards, Shabazz Palaces, Thee Oh Sees, Julianna Barwick, Sun Araw, Prince Rama + more. 

 

Julia Holter


Julia Holter Australian tour 2019

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Julia Holter Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

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Julia Holter Australian tour 2014. Artwork by Greedy Hen.

Julia Holter Australian tour 2013 + Laneway Festival. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.

Julianna Barwick

Mary Lattimore x Julianna Barwick Australian tour 2019: artwork by Marita May Dyson+( Dark Mofo Hobart + Melbourne Recital Centre)

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JULIANNA BARWICK AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

JULIANNA BARWICK AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2012. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

 

The Julie Ruin

TheJulieRuin_tour
Artwork by Greedy Hen

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.

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“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.

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

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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:

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Kelley Stoltz

Kelley Stoltz Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Gill Tucker.

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Kelley Stoltz Australian tour 2008. Artwork by Katherine Brickman.

Kurt Vile

KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2019.
design by Carl Breitkreuz

Kurt Vile sold out
KURT VILE AUSTRALIAN SOLO TOUR 2017. Artwork by Ben Montero, layout by Carl Breitkreuz

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KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016 (+ Falls Festival). Artwork by Ben Montero, layout by Carl Breitkreuz

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KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2014. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2011.

Artwork by Bjenny Montero.

Liam Finn


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Artwork by Ben Montero

LIAM FINN TOUR DATES:

  • MELBOURNE: Friday November 20, 7:00-8:00pmSUCCESS 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.

Liam toured The Nihilist with his band the “Dream Team”, featuring his brother Elroy Finn, long time collaborator Elize-Jane Barnes, Cecilia Herbert and Jimmy Metherell, along with frequent live members Connan Mockasin, Kirin J Callinan and Matthew Eccles. Over the past 8 years Liam has toured the world performing with the likes of Wilco, Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam, Deerhoof and The Black Keys, performing at such famous venues as La Paradiso, Largo, Bowery Ballroom, La Scala and on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

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:

Liam Finn “Snug As Fuck” from Liam Finn on Vimeo.

Liars

Mistletone proudly presents the first Australian Liars shows in 4 years.

LIARS TOUR DATES:

  • MELBOURNE: Thursday September 27 @ The Curtin with Hex Debt + HTRK DJs. Tickets on sale now.
  • MELBOURNE: Friday September 28 @ ACMI Wonderland Late Nights. Tickets on sale now.
  • SYDNEY: Saturday September 29 @ Oxford Art Factory with Party Dozen + Buzz Kull. Tickets on sale now.
  • WOLLONGONG: Sunday September 30 @ Yours & Owls. Tickets on sale now.

“UTTERLY bizarre and utterly brilliant” – The Arts Desk
“ANOTHER excellent album” – Loud and Quiet Magazine
A TRIUMPH” – BrooklynVegan
SHORTLISTED for the Australian Music Prize 2017

Liars have provided the soundtrack for a forthcoming film by Jeremy Phillips, entitled 1/1. Hear/share the first taste, ‘Liquorice’:

Listen to Liars head honcho Angus Andrew’s “Listening to Australia” Spotify playlist below:

Liars have, as a matter of course, sounded radically different with each album, pursuing new concepts and occupying diverse mindsets, from the pell-mell post-punk of their 2001 debut, They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top, through the No Wave Hallowe’en stories of They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, to the haunted electronica of Mess. But there’s no defining style to TFCF, no overriding concept, as it shifts between sampled elements, brash processed sounds and “real” instrumentation, passages of pointed abstraction and passages of wilful songcraft, avant gestures and genuine pop moments. There’s no mask being hid behind, and the album is Liars’ most honest and autobiographical yet.

Angus grew up in Australia, but at the age of seventeen he lit off on a vision-quest that took him all across the globe. It was while travelling that he began to discover his creative voice, but, he says, “I always had this strong urge to return to Australia, as I still regarded it my home.” 

So, two decades later, he returned down-under, intrigued to see how his new environs might affect his output. After all, Angus had never made music in Australia before. “I wondered if I’d even be able to create here,” he says. 

Angus had been keenly aware of how his location had influenced previous Liars albums. His remote new abode brought with it fresh challenges. “Suddenly, the tides of the ocean became the most important thing to me, because I live right on the ocean now, and to get my boat out in the morning to get groceries on the mainland, I’ve got to know when the tide is coming in, or I’ll get stuck. Very basic things like that suddenly became top priority in my life. And the effect was interesting. The last record, Mess, was made in LA, and had very tight corners and clean edges – it was sharp, programmed, organised. It sounds a lot like living in a city. But now, everything started to fall off-time.”

It wasn’t just Angus’ surroundings that had changed, however – his whole creative process was about to undergo a drastic upheaval. Since arriving in Australia, as he worked on material for what would become TFCF, Angus had kept a line open with Aaron Hemphill, his Liars bandmate and only constant collaborator since the group had formed. “That line, fairly quickly and consistently, began to deteriorate,” says Angus. “At one point I visited Aaron in Berlin, where he was living, and he told me he didn’t want to finish the record.”

Their friendship endures, but the breakdown of their creative relationship exacerbated the isolation Angus was experiencing out in the bush. “I was physically isolated, and now I’d lost this connection with my past, with my bandmate, with the rest of the world. Things began to feel really fragile.” As he reworked the songs for the new album, he realised the lyrics he’d been sketching out – “Just off-the-cuff things about how I was feeling” – were about “this lack of connection, this breaking-down in communication. Classic break-up tropes were surfacing. I was narrating the process of a creative relationship deteriorating.”

Angus describes TFCF as “a super-sad record”, but this mood is offset by the restless creativity on display throughout the album. Cut off from the rest of the world in his remote home studio, with no other distractions, Angus gave free reign to artistic impulses he’d never explored. “I wanted to do lots of sampling,” he says. “I’d done a little in the past, but I’d started to realise the possibilities of the process, of sampling myself playing ‘proper’ instruments, and then using the sampler to put it all together in an ‘artificial’ way.”

In tandem with his embrace of the sampler, Angus also incorporated “authentic” sounds previously considered verboten within Liars; in particular, acoustic guitar. “That’s always been a frightening prospect to me,” he laughs. “‘Real music’, in the worst sense of that term.” But there is acoustic guitar all over the new album, albeit often sampled and repurposed. “It gave me an opportunity to create a sound that was warmer and more sensitive. Which was important, considering the subject matter of the lyrics.”

As he recorded the tracks for the new album, Angus kept a microphone running that he’d set up just outside of his studio, pointed out into the bush. “A lot of the sounds I was working on were samples, they lived inside my computer, but I still wanted to have a connection with everything around me,” he says. “So everything I was recording was in context of the world outside the studio… Sometimes I’d have my headphones on, just listening to the bush, and a bird would fly up and scream into the microphone. The truth is, even in New York or LA, I was still pretty isolated. Here, there are no other people around, but I feel much more connected to the environment around me than in a big city.”

The album’s reinvention of the Liars paradigm – blurring the lines between electronic and acoustic, between the experimental impulse and the addictive pop sensibility – is evidence that Angus’ creative energies remain as healthy as ever, even given the upheaval within the group. Even in his darkest moments, he never considered not finishing the album, still engaged by the challenge of making new art, the satisfaction of exploring new frontiers. 

“I feel like, ‘I haven’t tried this, maybe I could try it because I haven’t done it’,” he says. “The innocence of experimenting with something that you don’t know how to use. And that’s what’s driven the music from one extreme to another, the possibilities of the unknown, putting myself in a position that’s uncomfortable. ‘I don’t know how to write a record with strings and acoustic guitars, what would happen if I tried?’ Using equipment the way it wasn’t supposed to be used, because I don’t know how to use it – it gives me a chance to find a way of using it in a unique way.”

TFCF, then, is another unexpected chapter in the saga of Liars, and one that confirms, for Angus, that there will be more to follow. “Suddenly you wake up, fifteen years down the track, and realise, ‘Liars is actually my life’,” he grins. “You start off thinking you’re only messing around, and suddenly you’re eight records into it. And it feels empowering. It’s all a learning curve, experimenting with new ways of expressing myself. And that’s really exciting to me.”

Lonnie Holley

LONNIE HOLLEY TOUR DATES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dragons

Lucky Dragons Australian tour 2011 (Black Dice + Melbourne Festival). Artwork by Bjenny Montero.

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Lucky Dragons Australian tour 2008. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

Lucy Dacus

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You said don’t go changing

I’ll rearrange to let you in

And I’ll be your historian

And you’ll be mine

And I’ll fill pages of scribbled ink

Hoping the words carry meaning”

~ Lucy Dacus, “Historian”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Lattimore

Mary Lattimore x Julianna Barwick Australian tour 2019: artwork by Marita May Dyson (+ Dark Mofo Hobart + Melbourne Recital Centre)


Mary Lattimore Australian tour 2019 (+ Sydney Festival)
artwork by Marita May Dyson 

 

Matmos

Matmos poster

Artwork by Alex Fregon

SYDNEY FESTIVAL: Wednesday January 15Matmos @ 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.

matmos

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

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Meg Baird photo by Amy Harrity

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.

Meg Baird’s last decade would be remarkable by any artist’s standards. She co-founded and recorded three albums with Espers — one of the most distinctive and hypnotic bands of the century’s first decade — and released three stunning, slow-burning solo LPs for Drag City: Dear CompanionSeasons on Earth, and most recently, this year’s magnificent Don’t Weigh Down the Light. Meg Baird’s calibre as a musician can be deduced by the company she’s kept (Will Oldham, Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn and Sharon Van Etten, to name a few), but listening is believing when it comes to this exceptional artist. After more than a decade as a fixture in Philadelphia’s boiling-over musical scene, Meg moved west to San Francisco where she joined forces (as drummer and lead vocalist) with members of Comets on Fire and Assemble Head to form the moody and thunderous Heron Oblivion, who recently signed to Sub Pop Records.
Historical Meg Baird fact: her great-great uncle was Isaac Garfield “I.G.” Greer, a historian and Appalachian folk singer born in 1881 whose recordings on the Archive of Folk Culture in the Library of Congress helped expose Meg to folk music at a young age, along with Smithsonian Folkways LPs…
  • “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.

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The Men


The Men Australian tour 2013 + Laneway Festival. Artwork by Ben Montero / layout by Alicia Saye

 

Mercury Rev

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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.”

Mercury Rev
Photo by Alise Marie

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.

METZ

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METZ Australian tour 2016. Poster artwork by Hayden Menzies (METZ); layout by Carl Breitkreuz.

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METZ Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

 

Michael Hurley

MICHAEL HURLEY AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018

Artwork: Michael Hurley; design: Alex Fregon

Michael Hurley A2_web


AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016

Artwork by Michael Hurley, layout by Carl Breitkreuz

 

 

Mirah


Mirah Australian tour 2010. Artwork by Gloz.


Sydney review from Your Gigs:

Mirah – The Red Rattler, October 21, 2010

Photo: Michelle Ho

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.

Fiona Laughton
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

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MMW Opening Night

Opening Night Poster Design - El - Web-2
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.

Beat review:

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

Moon Duo

MOON DUO PRESENTS THE LIGHTSHIP:

HOBART: SUN FEB 9 @ ODEON THEATRE. Tickets on sale now.
MELBOURNE: TUE FEB 11 @ MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE. Tickets on sale now.
BRISBANE: WED FEB 12 @ THE ZOO. Tickets on sale now.
SYDNEY: THU FEB 13 @ OXFORD ART FACTORY. Tickets on sale now.
ADELAIDE: FRI FEB 14 @ RCC, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE. Tickets on sale now.
PERTH: SAT FEB 15 @ PERTH FESTIVAL. Tickets on sale now.

Mistletone and Moon Duo proudly present “The Lightship”, performing inside a perception-shifting, visual environment light box inspired by ’70s discotheques and the psychedelic experience. Tickets on sale now!

Stars Are the Light (out locally via Rocket) is the seventh album by space partners Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, and marks a progression into significantly new territory. From a preoccupation with the transcendental and occult that informed Moon Duo’s guitar-driven psych rock, and reached its apotheosis in the acclaimed Occult Architecture diptych, Stars Are the Lightsees the band synthesise the abstract and metaphysical with the embodied and terrestrial.

Says Yamada: “We have changed, the nature of our collaboration has changed, the world has changed, and we wanted the new music to reflect that.”

photo: Benny van der Plank

Branching out from Occult Architecture Vol. 2, the album has a sonic physicality that is at once propulsive and undulating; it puts dance at the heart of an expansive nexus that connects the body to the stars. These are songs about embodied human experience — love, change, misunderstanding, internal struggle, joy, misery, alienation, discord, harmony, celebration — rendered as a kind of dance of the self, both in relation to other selves and to the eternal dance of the cosmos.

Taking disco as its groove-oriented departure point, Stars Are the Light shimmers with elements of ’70s funk and ’90s rave. Johnson’s signature guitar sound is at its most languid and refined, while Yamada’s synths and oneiric vocals are foregrounded to create a spacious percussiveness that invites the body to move with its mesmeric rhythms. With Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum) at the mixing desk in Portugal’s Serra de Sintra, (known to the Romans as “The Mountains of the Moon”) the area’s lush landscape and powerful lunar energies exerted a strong influence on the vibe and sonic texture of the album.

On embracing disco as an inspiration, Yamada says, “It’s something we hadn’t referenced in our music before, but its core concepts really align with what we were circling around as we made the album. Disco is dance music, first and foremost, and we were digging our way into the idea of this endless dance of bodies in nature. We were also very inspired by the space and community of a disco – a space of free self-expression through dance, fashion, and mode of being; where everyone was welcome, diversity was celebrated, and identity could be fluid; where the life force that animates each of us differently could flower.”


Moses Sumney

MOSES SUMNEY AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018:

MOSES SUMNEY 2018 TOUR DATES:

Auckland: Monday 29 January @ Laneway Festival, Albert Park Precinct
MELBOURNE: Thursday 1 February @ Melbourne Recital Centre
Adelaide: Friday 2 February @ Laneway Festival, Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide (16+)
Melbourne: Saturday 3 February @ Laneway Festival, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the River’s Edge
Sydney: Sunday 4 February @ Laneway Festival, Sydney College of the Arts and Callan Park, Rozelle
SYDNEY: Thursday 8 February @ Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall * SOLD OUT
Brisbane: Saturday 10 February @ Laneway Festival, Brisbane Showgrounds, Bowen Hills (16+)
Fremantle: Sunday 11 February @ Laneway Festival, Esplanade Reserve and West End

MOSES SUMNEY AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2017:

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Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

MOSES SUMNEY 2017 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 nowSOLD OUT
  • HOBART: Friday January 20 @ MONA FOMA Festival.
  • MELBOURNE: Saturday January 21 @ Sugar Mountain Festival.

Mount Eerie

Nakhane

NAKHANE TOUR DATES:

  • SYDNEY: FRIDAY JANUARY 18 @ SYDNEY FESTIVAL * sold out!
  • SYDNEY: MONDAY JANUARY 21 @ CARRIAGEWORKS / NICK CAVE UNTIL LATER EXHBITION * sold out!
  • LAUNCESTON: JANUARY 19/20 @ MONA FOMA. Tickets and info here.
  • BRISBANE: THURSDAY JANUARY 24 @ THE TIVOLI. Tickets and info here.
  • MELBOURNE: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 1 @ NOCTURNAL AT MELBOURNE MUSEUM. Tickets and info here.
  • MELBOURNE: SATURDAY FEBRUARY 2 @ HOWLER with special guest Elizabeth, plus onstage Artist in Conversation with Stani Goma (PBS-FM). Tickets on sale now.

One of the glorious things about pop music is the way that singular talents can come from anywhere – and 2018 is infinitely more interesting thanks to the arrival of Nakhane.

Born 30 years ago in Alice, a small town on the eastern Cape of South Africa, Nakhane has a ravishingly beautiful voice and plenty to express with it. His album You Will Not Die excavates his religious upbringing, his need to renounce Christianity after feeling that it was incompatible with his queerness, and his periods of depression and anxiety – but there’s also love, joy and self-acceptance, not least on the title track, in which Nakhane realises that despite the traumatic events he’s been through, he’ll survive.

As an album, You Will Not Die is gorgeous to listen to, Nakhane’s magisterial voice aligned with solid-gold songwriting. Producer Ben Christopher, whose credits include Bat For Lashes, melds choirs, strings and electronic pop into something sumptuous and urgent. From the choral hip-hop of opening track “Violent Measures”, through the anthemic pulse of “Star Red”, to the gorgeously limpid torch song “All Along”, You Will Not Die reveals the measure of Nakhane’s considerable talents.

Born in Alice, South Africa, Nakhane grew up in Port Elizabeth before moving to Johannesburg aged 15. A umXhosa, the second largest ethnic group in South Africa after the amaZulu, Nakhane was raised in a musical family – his aunt, who brought him up (and who he refers to as his mum), and her sisters sang in choirs. “My first musical memories are voices in a room singing Mozart and South African choral pieces,” he says. “And then when we moved to Port Elizabeth my mum introduced me to Marvin Gaye and the O’Jays. I didn’t really know current pop music until I was in high school.”

Nakhane performed in musicals at school, including the lead role in Joseph and his Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat, and loved singing harmony with this aunt on car journeys. Everyone in the family could sing, he says, “but for some reason I could see that singing was something I got validation from a lot more than anyone else around me.” Nakhame didn’t realise as a youngster that he had an extraordinary voice, at once triumphant and tender. “With songwriting there was a lightbulb moment where I thought ‘Yeah, I can do this!’ But with singing it was like learning how to speak, you don’t realise you’re learning and then you suddenly can.”

More difficult was Nakhane’s growing awareness of his sexuality. Though South Africa is liberal regarding LGBT rights, his family’s Christianity was becoming increasingly hardline: “the older I got, we became very staunch, more conservative”. At the age of 19 he came out, to the consternation of his church and family, who decided that his “sin” could be prayed away – “like if you have Jesus in your heart this is a temptation that you can learn to live without”. For six years until the age of 25, Nakhane was a poster boy for fundamentalism, preaching about the way God had taken away his attraction to men, “a testament that ‘look, it can happen, someone can think that they are homosexual but if they just accept Jesus into their heart and fight this temptation they can be good Christians’.”

Inevitably however, Nakhane realised that his sexuality could not – and should not – be denied. He renounced his Christian faith after a dream which inspired You Will Not Die. “One night, I dreamt a voice gave me a date, that of my death,” he remembers. “Suddenly, having forever lived in fear of divine punishment, I was certain I wasn’t to die the next day, or even 10 years later. It was incredibly freeing. I decided to catch up on lost time, to finally live my life.”

Along with his sexuality, Nakhane embraced his artistic identity. Inspired by mould-shattering musicians including Anohni, Busi Mhlongo, David Bowie, Mbongwana Star and Nina Simone, Nakhane started to write songs on his acoustic guitar and play them on the folk circuit in Johannesburg: “grungy little pubs where everyone would talk over you”. He was spotted performing in an acoustic competition in Johannesburg by the boss of a record label who signed him, then in 2013 released his first album Brave Confusion which, he says, “took a while to catch on.” In 2015 Nakhane published his first novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues, about a relationship between a young man and an uncle whom he discovers is in a same-sex relationship. The same year Nakhane collaborated with the South African DJ Black Coffee; their addictive, pulsing dance record We Dance Again was a hit and gave the singer a wide audience in the country.

His achievements are not confined to music and literature. Last year Nakhane starred in The Wound, a film about homosexuality in the Xhosa community which has been shortlisted for the best foreign language film at this year’s Oscars. This January he visited New York for a podcast-based project with the actor and filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell. He’s a polymath, then: but a musician first and foremost, with You Will Not Die showcasing him in full bloom.

Nakhane wanted it to be an electronic album, partly a reaction to his early experiences as a musician. “The folk scene is so fucked up,” he says. “It purports to be authentic which is a word I fucking hate, because it normally means white guy with a beard and an acoustic guitar. I don’t tick those boxes.” In fact, You Will Not Die ranges from the effervescent glam-tinged stomper Interloper, through the abstract blues of The Dead, to the meditative piano ballad Teen Prayer. There are some sounds which run through the record – for instance choirs, a reference to Nakhane’s upbringing – and of course that glorious voice, delving deep into his experiences. The ominous waltz Fog is about suffering what Nakhane’s doctor says is chronic depression and generalised anxiety disorder. “Four years ago it was difficult to talk about mental illness without people rolling their eyes at you,” says Nakhane. “It affects every facet of my life, unfortunately. But I’m on good medication now.”


Nakhane (photo by Tarryn Hatchett)

The shimmering dance tune “Clairvoyant” is a love song, inspired by a line in Jean Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles. “There’s a line there that goes ‘love had made them clairvoyant’ and I remember thinking ‘Jesus, love doesn’t make me clairvoyant – if anything I become more of an idiot when I’m in love’.” The lyrics, Nakhane says, are neither euphoric nor despairing, but about that tricky middle ground: “how you can love somebody but you can also resent them.” Its video is a sumptuous portrait of a same-sex couple, stylistically inspired by Wong Kar-Wei’s Happy Together, in which Nakhane appeared naked. “Oh yeah I am, aren’t I?,” he chuckles. “I went to the director and said to him that I wanted to show a same-sex black couple living their normal day to day life. I wanted to showcase banality but make it beautiful and stylise it.” As for the nudity, “I had a very naked family, nudity was never anything that was frowned upon. As an artist, my body is just another tool for me to use to say what I want to say.”

“Teen Prayer” was inspired by a visit to a tarot card reader who recommended that Nakhane went back to the places in which he grew up – advice he took. A kind of anti-gospel record, Teen Prayer is “about letting go of the fear that I’m going to hell. I also wanted to queer that Biblical language and gospel sound. There’s a line ‘He moves in me’ which is a double entendre. One could read it as the Holy Spirit moving in you, or one could read it as anal sex.”

The title track “You Will Not Die” delves into a subject Nakhane had previously thought was too tender to write about – the fact that his biological parents had not brought him up. “For the first five years of my life I was moved around a lot,” he says. “My father was never on the scene really, I’ve met him twice. I lived with my mother for a year when I was six, it didn’t work out, and then my aunt and her husband adopted me and they, for all intents and purposes, became my parents for the remainder of my life. It was never forethought, but life made it that way and as traumatic as it became when I was growing up, now when I look back I’m so much happier – I prefer that I was raised by my aunt.”

The song is about this hard-won acceptance of painful aspects of the past, and a hymn to Nakhane’s resilience. “That line ‘And when I woke up in the morning I knew that I wouldn’t die’. So your parents left, did you die? No. There’s always tomorrow – hopefully.”

Nakhane’s tomorrow is a hugely promising one – and he travels to the UK with his family’s blessing, despite the complexities of religion and sexuality. “It took a long time and a lot of complicated conversations, but over time I think the ice thaws,” the singer says. His experiences have turned him into a vibrantly creative artist destined to push pop’s boundaries. “I remember being young, black and queer and having no-one representing me in the world ever, you know?,” he says. “I discovered James Baldwin when I was 19 and I was never the same person ever again. So if my album can do something like that for someone, then my work is done.”

Nite Jewel


Nite Jewel Australian tour 2013 + Laneway Festival. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

 

 

Olivia Chaney

mistletone text
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.

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Parquet Courts


Parquet Courts Australian tour 2019. Artwork by James Vinciguerra

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Parquet Courts Australian tour 2016-17 + Falls Festival. Artwork by James Vinciguerra.

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Parquet Courts Australian tour 2015 + Golden Plains Festival + Perth Festival. Artwork by Andrew Savage.

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Parquet Courts Australian tour 2014 + Laneway Festival. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.

Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius Australian tour 2018 + Melbourne Recital Centre, Perth Festival, Adelaide Festival + PANAMA Festival Tasmania:

Perfume Genius Australian tour 2015 + Perth Festival:

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Perfume Genius Australian tour 2013 + Sydney Festival + Laneway Festival:

 

Ariel Pink

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Ariel Pink Australian tour 2017. Artwork by Bailey Elderberry.

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Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Ben Montero.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2012. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

Golden Plains festival reviews for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti:

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.

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Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Australian tour 2007. Artwork by Nathan Gray.

 

Pissed Jeans

Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

PISSED JEANS TOUR DATES:

  • SYDNEY: Wednesday December 6 @ Oxford Art Factory with Batpiss + Low Life. Tickets on sale now.
  • MELBOURNE: Thursday December 7 @ The Corner with Batpiss + Blank Statements. Presented by Triple R. Tickets on sale now.
  • MEREDITH: Friday December 8 @ Meredith Music Festival. Ticket ballot open now.
  • BRISBANE: Saturday December 9 @ The Foundry with Batpiss + Kitchen’s Floor. Tickets on sale Friday.

Mistletone + Noisey present the first EVER! Australian tour by Allentown sludgemasters, Pissed Jeans.
Aunty Meredith waxes lyrical…

“Pissed Jeans are a band we always get asked for. Been holding on so long. Straight up hi-energy rock from Allentown, Pennsylvania. They have been asked to tour Australia so many times and it hasn’t happened until now. They are five albums in and haven’t made it here yet. We are so stoked to be able to present them.

They are cult. They are amazing live. A great singer. Electric. Inclusive. Funny (how good is their photo?). People love ‘em.

Latest Sub-Pop album, ‘Why Love Now’, co-produced by Lydia Lunch, is perhaps their most polished and hi-fidelity recording to date. But don’t be mistaken … one listen to tracks like ‘Ignorecam’, ‘Love Without Emotion’ and ‘The Bar Is Low’ and you’ll understand that they’ve hardly got designs on some kind of surprise crossover move any time soon.

Influences to the fore include early 80’s hardcore (Black Flag, Flipper) and 90s noise rock (The Jesus Lizard) but dynamic frontman, Matt Korvette, claims he had a moment of realisation many years ago when he came across a YouTube clip of The Birthday Party on a German TV show.

“I saw that video and I’m like, I’m just gonna steal everything in this … and I’m gonna do it bad enough that it’ll become my own thing, you know … and people won’t just say ‘oh, you stole that’ because I’ll just do such a poor rendering of it.”  Just one of many contradictions at play within this band: success as failure … failure as success … with thrilling results!”

Pissed Jeans have been making a racket for 13 years, and on their fifth album, Why Love Now (out now on Sub Pop via Inertia), the male-fronted quartet is taking aim at the mundane discomforts of modern life—from fetish webcams to office-supply deliveries.

“Rock bands can retreat to the safety of what rock bands usually sing about. So 60 years from now, when no one has a telephone, bands will be writing songs like, ‘I’m waiting for her to call me on my telephone.’ Kids are going to be like, ‘Grandpa, tell me, what was that?’ I’d rather not shy away from talking about the internet or interactions in 2016,” says Pissed Jeans frontman Matt Korvette.

Pissed Jeans’ gutter-scraped amalgamation of sludge, punk, noise, and bracing wit make the band—Korvette, Brad Fry (guitar), Randy Huth (bass) and Sean McGuinness (drums)—a release valve for a world where absurdity seems in a constant battle trying to outdo itself. Why Love Now picks at the bursting seams that are barely holding 21st-century life together. Take the grinding rave-up “The Bar Is Low,” which, according to Korvette, is “about how every guy seems to be revealing themselves as a shithead.

“It seems like every guy is getting outed,” Korvette continues, “across every board of entertainment and politics and music. There’s no guy that isn’t a total creep. You’re like, ‘No, he’s just a dude that hits on drunk girls and has sex with them when they’re asleep.’ Cool, he’s just an average shithead.”

The lyrics on Why Love Now are particularly pointed about gender relations and the minefield they present in 2016. “‘It’s Your Knees’ is about the endless, unrequested, commenting on if you’d fuck a girl. You know what I mean? ‘My great aunt won a cooking contest.’ ‘Oh, that’s pretty hot. I’d hit that,’” says Korvette. “It’s bizarre how guys will willingly share this stuff as if it’s always in their brains, and now it gets to come out because you’re on the internet. There’s a boldness to it now that was not maybe there before. So the premise is like, ‘Yeah, she’s hot, but her knees are weird looking. Not for me, man.’”

Pissed Jeans

On “Love Without Emotion” Korvette channels Nick Cave’s more guttural side while bemoaning his detachment over cavernous guitars. The crushing “Ignorecam” twists the idea of fetish cam shows—”where the woman just ignores you and watches TV or eats macaroni and cheese or talks on the phone”—into a showcase for Korvette’s rancid yelp and his bandmates’ pummeling rock. “I love that idea of guys paying to be ignored,” says Korvette. “It seems so weird.”

As they did on their last album, 2013’s Honeys, Pissed Jeans offer a couple of “fuck that shit type songs” about the working world, with the blistering “Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst” turning unwieldy job titles into sneering punk choruses and “Have You Ever Been Furniture” waving a flag for those whose job descriptions might as well be summed up by “professionally underappreciated.” And the startling “I’m A Man,” which comes at the album’s midpoint, finds author Lindsay Hunter (Ugly Girls) taking center stage, delivering a self-penned monologue of W.B. Mason-inspired erotica—office small talk about pens and coffee given just enough of a twist to expose its filthy underside, with Hunter adopting a grimacing menace that makes its depiction of curdled masculinity even more harrowing.

“Lindsay Hunter is what I would aspire for Pissed Jeans to be—just a real, ugly realness that’s shocking,” says Korvette. “Not in a, ‘I had sex with a corpse on top of a pile…’ nonsense way—actually real, shocking stuff. And she has young kids, like Pissed Jeans do. I feel a bond with her in that regard. We’re in the same camp.”

No Wave legend Lydia Lunch shacked up in Philadelphia to produce “Why Love Now” alongside local metal legend Arthur Rizk (Eternal Champion, Goat Semen). “I knew she wasn’t a traditional producer,” Korvette says of Lunch. “We wanted to mix it up a little bit. I like how she’s so cool and really intimidating. I didn’t know how it was going to work out. She ended up being so fucking awesome and crazy. She was super into it, constantly threatening to bend us over the bathtub. I’m not really sure what that entails, but I know she probably wasn’t joking.

“Arthur Rizk was the technical guru. It was a perfect combination of a technical wizard and a psychic mentor who guided the ship.”

The combination of Lunch’s spiritual guidance and Rizk’s technical prowess supercharged Pissed Jeans, and the bracing Why Love Now documents them at their grimy, grinning best. While its references may be very early-21st-century, its willingness to state its case cements it as an album in line with punk’s tradition of turning norms on their heads and shaking them loose.

“A crucial thing, I think, for being a Pissed Jeans fan is just stemming from what I would take away from punk, which is, ‘Question things and think about things,’” says Korvette. “Don’t just go to the office and get the same coffee. Don’t just wear a leather jacket and get a 40 oz. Just question yourself a little bit if you can.”

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Ryley Walker

Ryley Walker tour 2020 artwork by George Gillies

 

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Ryley Walker 2016 tour. Artwork by Aaron Billings

 

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten Australian tour 2019. Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

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Sharon Van Etten Australian tour 2015. Artwork by Steph Hughes.

Sharon Van Etten Australian tour 2013 + Sydney Festival 2015. Artwork by Greedy Hen.

 

Sonny & the Sunsets

Sonny & the Sunsets Australian tour 2013: Melbourne Music Week opening night + Pop-friendzzzy Sydney + Queensland Gallery of Art, Brisbane. Artwork by Bjenny Montero

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Sonny & the Sunsets Australian tour 2011: Golden Plains Festival + supports for The Clean. Artwork by Bjenny Montero

 

 

Steve Gunn

Steve Gunn tour 2019 – artwork by George Gillies

Steve Gunn A2_web Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz – Steve Gunn tour 2017

Tim Hecker

Mistletone proudly presents a Sydney headline show by TIM HECKER & THE KONOYO ENSEMBLE, playing The Factory Theatre on Friday, January 17. Tickets on sale now.

Canadian composer Tim Hecker comes to Sydney’s Factory Theatre to present his ninth and tenth official full-length albums, Konoyo (‘the world over here’) and Anoyo (‘the world over there’).

Largely recorded during several trips to Japan in collaboration with members of the Tokyo Gakuso ensemble, the albums features Hecker’s signature manipulation of source material — keening strings are stretched into surreal, pixelated mirages; woodwinds warble and dissipate as fractal whispers of spatial haze; sparse gestures of percussion are chopped, isolated, and eroded, like disembodied signals from the afterlife. Performed live with a three piece ensemble of Japanese classical gagaku musicians, this show is a powerful ceremony, suffused with profound ritual.

from SPIN magazine;

Two winters ago, Tim Hecker traveled to Japan with fellow composer Ben Frostto record what would become Konoyo, his ninth album. A far cry from the heady fog of 2016’s Love Streams, Konoyo plays with a lighter, more crystalline side of drone, in relatively uncrowded soundscapes. The music is informed by gagaku, a type of Japanese classical music relying heavily on the use of ancient instruments; the rigorous formalism of the style is undone over the album’s 59 minutes, thanks in large part to Hecker’s penchant for electronic manipulation. It’s a wholly anomalous take on gagaku, and on Hecker’s own sound, with instrumentation that constantly clashes and interlocks with itself in new and interesting ways.

In an interview with The Japan Times last September, Hecker hinted at the idea of doing a second record—less a companion piece than a new, “naturalist” approach to the material from the Konoyo recording sessions. Anoyo, released earlier this month, is just that. Doing away with much of the inscrutable electronics that characterized KonoyoAnoyo keeps moments from the original recording sessions largely intact. When I spoke to him about the album last month, he told me about the cold November days spent on the floor of a temple on the outskirts of Tokyo, recording with Tokyo Gakuso ensemble and listening to the birds outside the sliding wooden doors. There’s an existential chill running throughout Anoyo that calcifies in the shivering strings of the opener,“That world.” Towards the middle of the track, individual instruments meld into something approximating the Arctic mist of Ravedeath, 1972 before eventually detangling, and reverting to a more natural state.

In his approach to the new work, Hecker detailed the specific engineering challenges inherent in musical translation, involving different tunings in Eastern and Western music. Bringing different tunings together without adjustment, he says, “just sounds like the worst dog screeching, and not in a good way.” He also discussed the Cube Earth aesthetic of Anoyo’s album art and its relationship to the sound, along with the relative emotional index of his new music. With Anoyo, Hecker pulls back on digital manipulation in favor of something starker, and often more momentous; with all the majesty of a freezing Japanese November, Anoyo feels like a bold new statement from an artist who, 15 years into his career, remains dead set on evolution.

Toro y Moi

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Toro y Moi Australian tour 2017: Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

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Toro y Moi Australian tour 2016: Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

Toro y Moi Australian tour 2013: artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.

Toro y Moi Australian tour 2012: artwork by Carl Breitkreuz.


Toro y Moi Australian tour 2011: artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

Uncle Jack

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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

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Vivian Girls Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Rick Milovanovic.

 

The Weather Station

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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 OrbweaversTickets on sale now from the venue. Presented by Triple R.
  • SYDNEY: Wednesday January 6 @ The Famous Spiegeltent, 5.45pmTickets 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”.

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Weyes Blood

WEYES BLOOD TOUR 2020
Artwork by George Gillies

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WEYES BLOOD TOUR 2017
Artwork by Alex Fregon

 

WHY?

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WHY? Australian tour 2009. Artwork by Alex Fregon.

Video footage of Sydney show via Moshcam

Review of Sydney show from Joe Blog:

Why? live at the Annandale
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

  1. These Hands
  2. The Vowels, Part 2
  3. Rubber Traits
  4. Against Me
  5. Good Friday
  6. These Few Presidents
  7. January Twentysomething
  8. Sky For Shoeing Horses / Twenty-Eight
  9. Blackest Purse
  10. The Fall of Mr Fifths
  11. Yo Yo Bye Bye
  12. By Torpedo Or Chrohn’s
  13. Simeon’s Dilemma
  14. The Hollows

Wooden Shjips

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.


The Golden Plains crowd gives Wooden Shjips the boot. Photo by Dan Wilkinson.

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”

 

!!!


Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz

!!! TOUR DATES:

  • MELBOURNE: Thursday December 7 @ The Curtin. Tickets on sale now from Music Glue. Presented by RRR.
  • MEREDITH: Friday December 8 @ Meredith Music Festival. Ticket ballot open now.
  • SYDNEY: Thursday December 14 @ Oxford Art Factory. Tickets on sale now from Moshtix. Presented by 2SER.
  • + more to come!

!!! are one of Earth’s great live bands; something you have to experience in the flesh to truly comprehend.  To quote Aunty Meredith in her !!! wisdom:

“Designed for celebration. Built for energy generation. Engineered for euphoric elevation. Tested in all atmospheric conditions. Certified to issue failsafe moodproof bigband surefunk dancepunk. In poolboy shorts. Any beat that moves you is fuel for their six cylinders: twitchy R&B, queasy dub-disco, discotheque disco, romantic house, any quality propulsive groove. They turn any space into a dance club.”

Listen to “The Long Walk,” a brand new !!! track from a limited edition hand-stamped white label 12″ EP called Shake The Shut Up, available on their upcoming Australian tour: “a deliciously dirty disco-house groove elevated to celestial heights by gospel-tinged backing vocals” (Stereogum):

While  !!!’s  live  shows  are  something  to  behold,  they  underscore  the  sheer musicianship and songwriting that goes into recording their albums. It is a lot of hard work made to  look  easy.  “Most  of  the  songs  on Shake the Shudder  are  based  off  of  jams”, says frontman Nic Offer, “and  since  we  record  every  jam,  most  of  the  tracks  here  feature moments we  actually  recorded  from those  jams. Most  artists have  to dig  through  the  crates  to find  that one  sample  nobody has used  but  we  can  sample  ourselves,  having  been playing  this style of music for awhile now. As a band we try to play it the way the JBs would, as producers we try to mix it the way a DJ would.”

!!!

Shake the Shudder are words to live by and ones that !!! fully embrace. There are always fears to  be  faced  and  new  paths  to  forge,  and  those  uncertainties  never  hold  them  back.  They  just propel  them  to  jump  in  head  first.  For  years,  !!!  have  run  the  dance  band  gambit  and  become New  York  City  legends.  From  their  start  in  Sacramento,  to  Brooklyn  house  party  staples  and Union  Pool  residencies,  and  now  delighting  festival  stages  from  Primavera  to  FYF,  they’ve cemented their place as part of New York’s live dance scene — while others have drifted into the history  books.

Shake The Shudder is a product of !!!’s DIY punk roots presenting a harder edge lyrically and sonically,  while  incorporating  trans-Atlantic  electronic  music  influences.  Regularly  enlisting  the aid of talented female vocalists to elevate to their sound, this new album is no exception with the inclusion  of  up  and  coming  talents  Lea  Lea  and  Meah  Pace  showcasing energetic  breakout performances that only hints at what they do live. And Nic Offer is no easy frontman to keep up with on stage.

The  new  record  opens  with “The  One  2”,  diving  right  into  this  experimentation, “we’ve  always admired this style of dance music from afar and were curious if we could add our twist to it, our twist being a plotline and some attitude.” Immediately segueing into the soon-to-be live favorite “Dancing  Is  The  Best  Revenge” (below),  which  premiered  on  Last  Call  With  Carson  Daly,  the  record starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up till the closing groove “R Rated Pictures.”

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