Bear’s Den – Think Of England

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This one is proper great. West London folk trio Bear’s Den have released a beautiful new single “Think Of England” and appropriately melancholy film clip to pair with it. The song is a deep ballad that shows once again that the brits just bloody know how to get it done. They take any genre there is and do it better.

Minimalistic accompaniments pair with guitar that only peeks its head out when most appropriate. Horns play another helper, but it’s really in the emotive and crushing lyrics of frontman Andrew Davie that provide the cut through that hits you deep in your soul.

The single comes from the band’s debut album Islands, which was released via Communion Records/Dew Process in October of last year.

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Asta – Dynamite (feat. Allday)

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Triple J icon and winner of Unearthed High in 2012, Asta has released a new single just last week, the eclectic “Dynamite” featuring Adelaide rapper Allday. The track is scorchingly impressive, showcasing the soaring vocal range of the artist herself, and a great funky arrangement to suit the rhymes of her counterpart.

Asta will be touring the new single nationwide during March. You can grab tickets now for any of the below dates.

Tour Dates:

Thurs 26th March
Tasmanian International Arts Festival Spiegeltent, Hobart

Fri 27th March
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Sat 28th March
The Hills Are Alive, Kernot

Thurs 2nd April
Newtown Social Club, Sydney

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Twin Shadow – I’m Ready

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Brooklyn native Twin Shadow has always been quite a unique entity. His upcoming album Eclipse is one of the most anticipated releases announced this year, and the singles he’s released leading up to it have justified the excitement. Last week he released another of those singles, in the anthemic “I’m Ready”, a track whose complexity is masked with pop intentions.

The song, unlike the other releases so far, at least has a bit of structure to it. In the same vein of something like Bleachers, it sprays with a sort of eighties high school movie vibe mixed with inner city dreams. It’s a tragic love song and you can really, truly feel it when you listen. As someone who enjoys Twin Shadow, but is not exactly a crazy fan, I’d say “I’m Ready” is his best work yet. I’ll be listening for some time.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Coach Bombay – Sunshine (2015)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Melbourne’s Coach Bombay AKA Terry Mann has been busy over the past few years transitioning from a bedroom recording project to a fully fledged pop monster. His previous full length Pops kicked serious A, but with no live CV and a humble social push it was received lightly (albeit impressively) by the small group that were paying attention. Since then, he’s formed a tight live act, toured the East Coast and even hit viral fame this past Australia Day with a mock-take on Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, entitled “Straya”. This week his new album Sunshine was released in Australia, giving the local scene something to seriously pay attention to.

Sunshine is the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Not simply because it’s awash with bubblegum pop licks, but also because of the sheer imagination Coach Bombay has brought to the record. It’s a fucking ride. It’s no easy feat to bring to life a sound like this with tasty electronic fillings and hooks to inspire ever-lasting happiness. This vibe is staple-gunned to you when you hear the second track “Sunshine”, a tune that just bursts with immediacy from the first second. A dreamy chime sequence turns into a formulaic rise and fall procession of synth as the vocalist enters, spitting positivity imbued into some of the most memorable melodies of the year.

I half expect somebody may have discovered the wonderment of love this year. Tracks like “Silly Sweethearts” and “(So Fucking) Beautiful” drop clues throughout the record. The coach has always been a happy guy, but this is something different. It’s focused, and whether or not that statement is true, it’s something that contributes greatly to the output you get from the listen. The latter mentioned track is scattered and brooding but in a hopeful way. It’s a sweet listen and a necessary break from the insanely chirpy set you have before that point.

The cheekily named “Funtitled” could be liken to something like Architecture In Helsinki’s work, running through that kind of bright colours and bounce-dancing feeling. “Party Kitchen” is a god damn rager. Taking notes from eighties staples like Talking Heads The Coach spins a good yarn with the story of a crazy party heading all the way to the kitchen. Out of all the tracks on the record this has the biggest bravado of all. It’s got all the makings of a good party anthem, with crunchy electronics, vocals masked with attitude and a sweet post-chorus synth breakdown. It’s even got beer samples in it! My word, it is good.

The singles leading up to Sunshine, “Cool Thing” and “Girls” are old favourites, and although they’ve been out for a little while, I’ve been listening to them on and off and loved them every step of the way. Absolutely nothing bad to say there. But for those who haven’t heard them, they’re classic pop tunes. “Girls” is another formulaic procedure, streaking with a day-dreamer’s chorus and the kind of instrumentals that could potentially drive you crazy when they eventually get stuck in your head for months.

The big take-away from Coach Bombay‘s Sunshine is happiness times infinite. At its core is a likeable procession of pop tunes that don’t get old. But on deeper inspection, it’s a masterful collection of well-written, instrumental genius complemented by vocals that are purposefully morphed to fit the vibe. I sincerely hope 2015 is huge for this guy; Sunshineis the best album of the year (so far).

8.9 / 10

*****

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POP ETC – Running In Circles

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I am just loving POP ETC at the moment. Following a collaboration with Yoko Kanno, the artist has released the single “Running In Circles” recently, showcasing a track that could be mistaken for something on the cusp of the eighties and nineties. That is not a negative thing, by the way.

With the same stellar vocal arrangements as usual and staggering lead guitar creeping up and down alongside an adventurous bass line, it’s a great tune and a tribute to the capabilities of a true industry highlight. They only released the track on New Year’s Eve, so we’re hoping for an announcement of a full length album soon. For now, enjoy.

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Miami Horror – Love Like Mine (feat. Cleopold)

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Back in the days that Melbournites Miami Horror first launched, I wasn’t stupid crazy about them like the rest of the world apparently was. With other acts like Cut Copy and The Presets at the height of their festival fame, Miami Horror seemed to take a backseat, at least when it came to my regular playlist. But late into last year I had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Ben Plant and it got me listening more and more in prep, and I fell absolutely head over heels for their latest efforts.

I don’t think past me was a bad judge of song, or that their old stuff was particularly bad. It’s just that these new efforts are iconic. “Wild Motion (Set It Free)” was liken to something from Talking Heads with catchy hooks streaking through its system, definitely one to be remember for some time to come. The latest release, “Love Like Mine”, came out late this week and it’s another ode to the eighties with a modern day twist, spruiking itself with confidence and a free love vibe. I could try and describe the actual music and what’s involved, but I feel like the best way to sum up the track would to say that if it were a stereotype of a person, it would be a California girl in a neon yellow one-piece swimsuit rollerskating down Venice Beach with a boombox cassette player blasting over her shoulder. Listen below, you’ll see what I mean.

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Lime Cordiale – Hanging Upside Down

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Sydney boys Lime Cordiale have been in that “up and coming” category for quite a while. With promising pop singles like “Sleeping At Your Door” flourishing through their repertoire it has been hard not to take notice. They also made a trip over to the states last year to put on some seriously cool showcases, and the hype keeps on coming. Well, they’ve released a new single in the very Aussie-indie sounding “Hanging Upside Down”.

The track shows a darker side to the usually cheery sounding Lime Cordiale, filled with lyrics that would have ended with a mouth washed out with soap as a child, and following a tale of sexual debauchery. It’s a slow, urban-like track yet it retains all the same sort of likability that made the music industry flag this act on the way up. Hopefully there’s a new album to be announced soon for a release in the next few months.

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Circa Waves – T-Shirt Weather

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I’m just going to be up front in this short write up. This is, without a doubt, the best Circa Waves track to have been released to date. I know that’s a huge statement, I mean, “Stuck In My Teeth”, “Young Chasers”…”Get Away”! But I’m willing to put it all on the line for the newbie, “T-Shirt Weather”.

I feel like something they’ve been missing so far has been a moody twist on their brand of fast paced, shambolic brit-pop. This one has a sort of Wombats-esque twist to their standard form, bringing us something that has more longevity than perhaps a lot of their other songs do. I can see this being played over and over, and chanted and sung at parties until we have no breath left to give.

The debut album Young Chasers is out on March 20th, and available for pre-order now, so mark it in your calendars guys!

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Penguin Prison – Never Gets Old

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Penguin Prison is back with another piece of pop gold in the lead up to his next album due out later this year with the track “Never Gets Old”. We’re all very excited for it. The man has obviously been getting a lot of inspiration from RAC (or the other way around, we’re not sure), and he’s putting that to good use.

The song is a pretty standard formulaic one, with the vocals not trying too hard and a verse, chorus, rinse, repeat sort of vibe. But Penguin Prison knows how to do this with style and maybe it’s true. Maybe it will never get old. I guess we’ll have to wait for announcement for dates on the album. In the meantime, check out the new track below.

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Geographer – I’m Ready

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 The first single off the upcoming album, Ghost Modern, is “I’m Ready” and it’s a sweet little pop tune with chiming synths and smooth vocal lines. Allegedly the last song to be written on the upcoming 12-track the song makes itself immediately known as a Geographer presentation, with unique vocals and minimalist pop.

Ghost Modern is set for release on March 24th via Roll Call Records.

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