Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jon Mortimer

Jon Mortimer - Restless Heart (mp3)

My old band-mate Jon Mortimer has called himself a lot of things since We Grow Up parted ways. Jonathan Blake, Kids In Love, The Sunday Gang, Sputnik Sweetheart and Dear Sputnik all lie strewn by the wayside now that he's settled on the name on his birth certificate to play under. Nomenclature aside, Jon's been consistently writing his constistently well-written songs on the sly the whole time.

Thankfully, investing in an iPad and microphone means he can finally share his new gems with the world, and by the world I mean me. I really wanted to hear the darn things!
With the earnest (and potentially dicey) mix of sci-fi cheese and humming melodrama afforded by Garage Band synth strings in many ways he's harking back to the simple bedroom sounds of his earliest stuff with We Grow Up (which incidentally won him Triple J Unearthed under his own name), but with a much better grasp of the songwriting tools at his disposal.

Young Anne Fey packs a powerful, Neil Young-channeling chorus and an undeniably gorgeous middle eight, but the less than subtle rape-y overtones of the lyrics kind of irk me, so I'll share 'Restless Heart' with you instead. Written in Canada, no less.

photo by Sia Duff

Mr. Rosewater

Mr. Rosewater - Dreaming Alone (mp3)

I shared a stage with this pair of men folk a few weeks ago and quite enjoyed their schtick. Essentially, the majestically bearded Ross McNaughton plays his Nick Cave-come-Jeff Magnum sea shanties whilst guitarist Ben Campbell lets fly with all manner of winged apes of distortion and noise from a delicious sounding array of Fender gear. Being their live debut it would be unfair to criticise them for still being a little embryonic; you can see what they're going for and it looks cool from afar. But while the idea of weird noise over straight forwardly appealing songwriting is quite cool, they've yet to quite push past the appeal of the initial premise and make something great out of it.

But as I said early days,
this tune of theirs is pretty nice though.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Harpoons

The Harpoons - Keep You Around

The newest track from the newly re-emerged Harpoons holds a few surprises for those fond of the irreverent tambourine shaking, 'grittily' recorded sixties sounds of the Faith EP. Aside from a noted step up in production values (crisp plucked bass and smooth drums), the songwriting on 'Keep You Around' shifts the band's focus from the bouncy garage sounds of the 60s to the snappy soul of Detroit. In this context the interaction between lead vocalist Bec Rigby and the backing hollers of the Madin brothers adopts a neat Jackson 5 sensibility.

Perhaps the most obvious reference point for this new track comes from Oscar + Martin's early 2011 single 'Do The Right Thing', which similarly recast irrepressibly groovy (is that word okay now?) RnB influences with inner-Melbourne bedroom-recording cred. Unsurprisingly, Bec and Harpoons drummer Martin King had a big hand in that chestnut too.

'Keep You Around' is the first taste of the new Harpoons record produced in collaboration with the meekly mind-shattering Nick Huggins and Two Bright Lakes. Drool.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Blind Herd

The Blind Herd - Ever Been Taught (mp3)

A new band to emerge from that Julia Farr-Aves-Bearded Gypsy Band clan of Adelaide bands, the ones who hold underground Alleyway shows and the Grace Emily above all others, The Blind Herd offer a somewhat bleaker perspective to the shirtless dancing of their comrades.

In some respects it covers similar territory to Jack Ladder’s recent record ‘Hurtsville’ with its sense of gothic Australiana, encapsulating that intangibly bleak desolation with which we suburbanites contemplate the dead heart, all gravitating around the powerful presence of a deep voiced, charismatic frontman. While Ladder’s use of 80’s synth and big gated snare drum to achieve this effect, The Blind Herd lean towards country and folk, with slide guitar and fiddle positioning frontman Frank Lloyd’s songs somewhere between Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and a more traditional, less cinematic Jae Laffer.

Good fun!