Archive for the ‘News’ Category

May 12, 2022

BATTS x Sharon Van Etten – Blue

Melbourne producer and songwriter BATTS joins the Mistletone label fam with her stunning new single “Blue” (feat. Sharon Van Etten) and its dreamy video above, directed by Melanie Scammell.

Showered with global acclaim, “Blue” premiered on Triple R Breakfasters, was added to Double J rotation, featured by Lauren Laverne as her BBC 6 Music track of the day, and won coverage from Brooklyn Vegan, NME, Stereogum and Far Out Magazine; to name just a few.

  • “It’s a gorgeous slow burner that sees BATTS – real name Tanya Batt – crooning above an atmospheric bed of guitars and keys, before an equally striking verse from Van Etten” – NME
  • “A spacious bed of lilting guitars and steadily-loping rhythms – self-produced by BATTS – set the dreamy stage for these two voices to shine. ‘You watch the sun it rises over these blue horizons’, Batt gently sings. Later, Van Etten mirrors that imagery with her equally elegant verse: ‘I feel the moon descending over backlit high rises’. The track truly takes off during a gorgeous bridge and the moment their voices harmonise in the song’s simply yet effective chorus: ‘I wish I could see the blue, babe / But all I do is feel the blue'” – DOUBLE J
  • The track is simply a dream. There are flecks of early ’70s psychedelia, as well as of BATTS’ fellow Australian, Julia Jacklin. Her voice is as warming as a soft blanket on a cold winter’s day” – FAR OUT MAGAZINE UK

“Blue” is BATTS’ first official release since her 2019, AMP-nominated debut The Grand Tour, which saw her collaborate with US Space agency NASA using samples collected from their Voyager Mission. “Blue” now sees her moving away from space collaborations and onto collaborating with one of her songwriting idols – Sharon Van Etten. After touring Australia together in 2019 and creating a beautiful bond, it led to them wanting to create something together.

“It’s a huge honour to write and create with Sharon – someone who has carved such a powerful path in this industry and remains so kind and humble, a truly special human. I started writing Blue when I was staying with my Mother-in-Law and watching a lot of Antiques Roadshow”, Tanya Batt recalled.

“I picked up my guitar to try and write a song that would feel like if Shaz or I played it solo it would feel authentically either of ours – I was in the depths of grief at the time and when Blue started to write itself, it clearly reflected how I was feeling. Sharon sent her verse over and the first time I listened to it was such a moment. She just got it, her lyrics were perfectly in keeping with it all. She absolutely completed it. It holds a very special place in my heart.”
 

Sharon Van Etten recollected, “I got to meet Tanya before I ever got to see her perform live, and she was a bright huge light who wanted to let everyone in and it only let her light shine even more. When I actually got to hear her sing, I was taken to another time, another place that she coloured for me. Helping me step out of myself and feel another soul’s journey. I felt quite grounded and comforted in her essence and all who surrounded her. So it felt quite natural to want to feel included in this group hug that I could tell she was nurturing with everyone around her.”

BATTS has spent a large portion of her career building up an impressive touring resume supporting the likes of Sharon Van Etten, Nilüfer Yanya, Lucius, The Teskey Brothers and Cub Sport (to name just a few). To launch The Grand Tour, Batt worked with the team at Scienceworks to build a dazzling visual experience for three sold out shows in the Melbourne Planetarium.

2022 marks a new chapter of music for BATTS, signing with Mistletone in AUS/NZ and launching her own label, I Feel Fine Records, for the rest of the world. ‘Blue’ featuring Sharon Van Etten is just the beginning of much more to come.



pic; Lisa Businovski

April 14, 2022

Andrew Tuttle – Fleeting Adventure

photo by Naomi Lee Beveridge
it’s a great joy to welcome Meanjin’s Andrew Tuttle to the label roster. A longtime friend of Mistletone, and one of our most admired Australian producers/composers will release his sumptuous new album Fleeting Adventure on Mistletone/ Inertia locally and Basin Rock (UK/Europe), on July 29. Pre-order here.

ANDREW TUTTLE TOUR DATES:
MELBOURNE: Saturday 6 August @ Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon + special guests Cold Hands Warm Heart. Tickets on sale now.
BRISBANE + SYDNEY dates to be announced soon!

Pilerats has premiered lead single “Overnight’s A Weekend”, featuring Steve Gunn and other international guests; a mesmerising slice of “cosmic Australiana”;

“Overnight’s A Weekend” ripples with the electric guitar textures of Steve Gunn, just one of the celebrated guests gracing the album’s seven glittering, contemplative instrumental tracks. Other guests on this profoundly delicate, gently mind-expanding zoner include Michael A. Muller (Balmorhea), Joe Saxby (These Guy) on saxophone, and France-via-Stockholm violinist, Aurélie Ferrière

As time warps in these strangest of times, life itself feels like a fleeting adventure. Our worlds are smaller and our little lives more fragile. The music made by Andrew Tuttle trickles into the cracks of the pandemic-frazzled psyche like the first rains on bushfire-scarred country. Golden plucks of banjo, gauzy electronics and cosmic guitar shimmer into gloriously expansive melodies that conjure peace and space, comfort and wonder.

This is “comfort music” at its most restorative; a gentle portal to the magical realism of the momentary. A reminder that when we listen deeply, every moment is a fleeting adventure; without traveling, we have already arrived.

Thinking of all his musician friends around the world – each confined to their localised bubbles – Tuttle has been patiently joining dots between the bubbles. Other American innovators who lend their talents to Fleeting Adventure include “cosmic americana” trailblazers Luke SchneiderChuck Johnson and Josh Kimbrough, who each bring their considerable talents to Tuttle’s generative and collaborative musical practice.

album artwork by George Gillies

Tuttle’s 2020 breakthrough album Alexandra (ROOM40) won lavish praise;
* “Joyful and full of subtle vigour, it’s the perfect headphone-heard walking companion when you don’t want lyrics crowding your thoughts” – MOJO 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
* “In each composition, there’s an unwavering cinematic quality in the crispness of the production and the ease in which the arrangements flow” – THE QUIETUS
* UNCUT 8/10
* THE AUSTRALIAN 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Standout track ‘Sun At 5 In 4161’ popped up on many playlists by peers and pioneers such as Liars, Ben Watt, Yasmin Williams, Forest Swords, Balmorhea and Hannah Peel.

As Tutts told UNCUT for their 2022 Albums Preview feature;

“I started recording in September 2020. I know a lot of albums at the moment are ‘the lockdown album’, but this consciously wasn’t that. Where I live in Brisbane, we’ve really been quite fortunate, because there haven’t been too many cases. So the album is all about this sense of fleeting adventure and excitement, putting things into a new perspective. It’s me opening up to the world again, hearing stories about friends doing things and being able to go to a gig for the first time in a year, or go to the park, or get on a plane.

“I’ve had guests on albums before, but working on A Cassowary Apart earlier this year, with Padang Food Tigers [Spencer Grady and Stephen Lewis], was a great eye-opener. It really got me thinking about working further with collaborations. So it’s a combination of new friends, old friends and everything in between. You have some of the Brisbane crew, like Joe Saxby [saxophone], who I’ve known for years, people who I’ve toured with, like Steve Gunn, and people I’ve met in residencies. And then there are a few people who I met online last year – like Luke Schneider and Michael Muller from Balmorhea. It’s like we became playlist friends.

“I gave everyone a really free brief. If it was a guitar-led track, I’d say, “Do what you want, then send it back. I’ll keep some of it and we’ll go from there.” That made it really interesting for me, because I wasn’t sure what I was getting back. I didn’t know what instrumentation they’d provide or what song they would play on. And I got to play around with things, which I think really helped with getting that spatial element in the music.

“There are two tracks that are really guest heavy: “Overnight’s A Weekend” and “Filtering”. And three tracks are just banjo, acoustic guitar and pedal steel, but it’s not the same people on each one. One track [“Correlation”] has Josh Kimbrough and Chuck Johnson and the other two have Luke Schneider and Darren Cross [“Next Week, Pending” and “New Breakfast Habit”], so it’s funny that there’s almost an accidental trio in there.

“For the first part of the album I was listening to a lot of those things on the Sahel Sounds album, so Les Filles de Illighadad [Tuareg band] and North African guitar sounds. Things that were really ongoing, structurally, and you weren’t sure when each track was going to finish. I hadn’t really spent much time with Fela Kuti before, but it’s stuff I’ve been listening to a lot. And a lot of peers as well. Ryley Walker’s latest album [Course In Fable] was just gorgeous and really kicked my butt into gear. So a lot of different things were inspiring me as I went along.”

FLEETING ADVENTURE by ANDREW TUTTLE
Written, produced, edited by Andrew Tuttle @ Bella Vista, 2020-2021
Additional engineering by Aidan Hogg @ The Plutonium, 2021
Mixed by Chuck Johnson, 2021
Mixed by Lawrence English, 2021Andrew Tuttle: banjo, acoustic guitar, signal processing.
++
Aurelie Ferriere: violin (1)
Chuck Johnson: pedal steel guitar (3)
Claire Deak: harp, piano, electronics (6)
Conrado Isasa: acoustic guitar (6)
Darren Cross: acoustic guitar, electronics (2, 5)
Flora Wong: violin (6)
Joe Saxby: saxophone (1)
Josh Kimbrough: acoustic guitar (3)
Luke Cuerel: saxophone (6)
Luke Schneider: pedal steel guitar (2, 5)
Michael A. Muller: electronics, electric guitar (1)
Spencer Grady: banjo, electronics (6)
Stephen Lewis: dobro, electronics (6)
Steve Gunn: electric guitar (1)
Tony Dupe: piano, electronics (6)

April 8, 2022

Touring: 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.”

 

March 17, 2022

Touring: 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!

Artwork by Carl Breitkreuz, limited edition prints available via mail order only, A3 posters on 250gsm stock, order here.

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.”

March 17, 2022

Touring: 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 Australia.

LUCY DACUS TOUR DATES:

Wednesday June 8RISING Melbourne @ The Forum with special guests Snowy Band. Tickets on sale here.
Friday June 10: The Metro Sydney. Tickets on sale here.
Saturday June 11: Hot Dreams @ Princess Theatre, Brisbane. Tickets on sale here.
Sunday June 12: Natural Bridge @ Eltham Hotel, Eltham NSW. Tickets on sale here.


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.

March 17, 2022

Touring: Ana Roxanne

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

ANA ROXANNE TOUR DATES:

Sunday June 5 – RISING Melbourne @ Max Watt’s with Wilson Tanner and YL Hooi. Tickets on sale now.
Thursday June 9 – RISING Melbourne @ The Forum with Midori Takada. Tickets on sale now.
Friday June 10 – portal [02] Canberra @ sideway with Kavil and Volta Hymn. Tickets on sale now.
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.

March 16, 2022

Touring: 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 now.

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.” 

March 16, 2022

Touring: 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. Perfume Genius only; tickets on sale now.
Saturday June 18 – Dark Mofo, Hobart. Hand Habits only; tickets on sale now.

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 

March 16, 2022

Touring: Cate Le Bon

CATE LE BON TOUR DATES:

Thursday June 9 – Vivid Sydney @ Carriageworks. Tickets and more info here.
Saturday June 11: Hot Dreams @ Princess Theatre, Brisbane. Tickets on sale here.
Sunday June 12: Natural Bridge @ Eltham Hotel, Eltham NSW. Tickets on sale here.
Thursday June 16 – The Corner, Melbourne with special guest BATTS. tickets on sale here. co-presented by ALWAYS LIVE and Triple R.
Friday June 17 – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine with special guest The Glass Picture. 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.

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.”

February 9, 2022

Pinch Points – Process

pic: Charlie Ashfield

Mistletone is proud as punch to release Process, the brilliant second album by Pinch Points, out now via Mistletone (AU / NZ) and Exploding in Sound (USA). Listen and buy vinyl here.

• “Riveting post-punk that seethes with righteous anger” – NME AUSTRALIA ★★★★
• “Rip-roaring punk with an important message” – TONE DEAF: VIDEO OF THE WEEK
• GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA: AUSTRALIA’S BEST NEW MUSIC
• 2SER + 4ZZZ Feature Album • RTR Sound Selection • PBS “top tracks we’re loving”
• NME interview and review
• Tone Deaf interview
•Post Trash interview

PINCH POINTS TOUR DATES:

  • MELBOURNE: Saturday, April 2 @ The Corner: album launch with MOD CONAlien NosejobOur Carlson. Presented by Triple R. Tickets on sale now.
  • BALLARAT: Friday, April 15 The Eastern with Expo Tor.
  • BEECHWORTH: Friday April 29 @ Tanswells with Delivery.
  • CASTLEMAINE: Saturday April 30 @ The Bridge Hotel with Delivery Heir Traffic.
  • NATIONAL: on tour with IDLES, Oct 31 – Nov 8, dates here.

Process melds catchy cultural critique with a hard-hitting personal expression of empathy and shared grief. A true collaboration, finding consensus from the experiences of four individual humans, Pinch Points embody music-making as an act of friendship and community, upholding the band’s shared belief in the music scene as a real-life platform for connection, strength and solidarity.

Pinch Points burst forth from the Melbourne underground with their 2019 debut Moving Parts, and were hailed by Double J as “the sharpest new band in the country” and Music Victoria’s Best Breakthrough Act of 2020. The band toured with Tropical Fuck Storm, supported Amyl and the Sniffers, Kikagaku MoyoViagra BoysRVG and Cash Savage and the Last Drinks, and opened 2020’s Golden Plains to a packed amphitheatre. “Reasons to be Anxious”, the first single from Process, was launched to a packed Max Watt’s for Melbourne Music Week.

The band recorded Process with Anna Laverty (Courtney Barnett, Nick Cave, The Peep Tempel), taking a momentous leap forward into full-force post-punk empowerment. The album’s 10 songs engage with the fractures in so-called ‘Australia’ — from catastrophic bushfires, gendered violence, mental health struggles to First Nations incarceration and deaths in custody — with clear-eyed directness, along with an uncommon nuance and empathy.

PINCH POINTS are Acacia Coates, Adam Smith, Jordan Oakley and Isabella Orsini.

Resonating with the shaky mental health state of the nation, the warm-hearted video for “Am I Okay?”  (directed by Michael Ridley – Rolling Blackouts, Alex Lahey, Violent Soho, etc), depicts the four band members plus four doppelgängers.

Embodying mental health self-care, the musicians give some TLC to help their alter egos through a rough patch. “It’s good to ask yourself  ‘Am I Okay?’”, each band member counsels their downhearted double. “Look after yourself, for a change!”

TONE DEAF ~ VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
“The vocals are raw and realistic, delivered precariously and shakily, the way four young people in the midst of an undefined and uncertain global time should sound. “Look after yourself for a change! / I know the world is fucking crap / But you didn’t cause that / So give yourself a hug,” is the sage advice on offer. ‘AM I OKAY?’ focuses on the same themes as previous single, the self-explanatory ‘Reasons To Be Anxious’,drawing attention to the need for care and comfort in these difficult times. It feels timely, with no hint of irony or insouciance; the point at the heart of the song is clearly of too much importance” 

The band describes “Am I Okay?” as a continuation of previous single “Reasons To Be Anxious”, building on the theme of the endemic anxiety and uncertainty of our times, with a call to be kind to yourself and remember you’re loved and worthy. 

“We stepped a little out of our normal songwriting comfort zone with this track”,  the band said in a statement. “We wanted to be very direct and sincere, without any irony or character-driven lyrics.

“Musically, we leaned into a softer jangle feel too. We really enjoyed exploring a new side of the Pinch Points sound. It was one of the only tracks on the album where we were still finalising the lyrics in the studio, on the day we recorded it. It came together really naturally though, and ended up being one of our collective faves”, the band agreed.