Last month, The Morning Benders released this statement regarding their decision to change their name to Pop Etc. In short, the American group discovered that “bender” is a derogatory slang for homosexual in the UK and parts of Europe while they were on tour there for the first time. Bummer.
The associations with the demeaning term “bender” prompted the band to change their name to Pop Etc, which also signals a significant shift in the music of their previous albums. The band are certainly taking the ‘pop’ term to heart when they released a mixtape in March. Old fans may be shocked by the sonic shift and there is definitely a notable absence of the live instruments associated with The Morning Benders.
My favourite track on the mixtape could easily have been mistaken for an interlude as it clocks in at just over 30 seconds. I really feel that the group could work with Time Off and develop it into a full length track. Whether or not Pop Etc. decide to do so on their upcoming third LP is yet to be determined.
You can download the mixtape indirectly by following the links here or you can preview individual tracks on their Soundcloud page
Mat. McHugh has been performing for years in the Australian music scene as the frontman from roots/folk/rock band The Beautiful Girls. He has just released a new album under his own name which explores a more personal side to his music while also showcasing his talents as a singer and songwriter. We were fortunate enough to have a chat with Mat about his latest project.
Q1. Love Come Save Me is your new album. Could you share the significance of the title for us?
Mat: I think the most important thing in the whole world is love. Not necessarily in the romantic sense but in the sense that it generates compassion and empathy for your fellow humans. Love promotes being selfless and I think that very notion could save us all.
Q2. A fortune-teller in India prophecised that you would make your ‘most important creative work’ in 2012. Was there a bit of pressure to deliver on that prophecy for you?
Mat: A little bit, I thought for a long time what it might mean. Once I removed any sense of traditional ‘achievement’ criteria such as musical performance, quality of song, record sales etc it became easier. I figured out nothing could be more important than promoting love and sharing.
Q3. You have been incredibly generous offering the album as a free download. Do you think that your music has been exposed to a wider audience this way? What was the motivation?
Mat: Definitely it has. My only motivation was to share and have people step away from the capitalist mindset for a second and just share music. I like the idea of people being able to give through sharing.
Q4. Do you have any favourite songs on the new record?
Mat: Breaking Your Fall is my favourite song I’ve written up to this point.
Q5. What’s in store for The Beautiful Girls?
Mat: Maybe something, maybe nothing. All it is, is a name. I love the guys and will always play music with them in some form but I’m not sure I will release another album called ‘The Beautiful Girls’ again. Until I can see a point, at least.
Q6. What 5 artists have you been listening to lately?
This incredibly smooth song was written in 1934, by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. I Only Have Eyes For You has gone on to be interpreted by artists generation after generation. Beck is the latest musician to give it a crack and he remains pretty faithful to the original recording.
In a world where fast, loud music crowds the airwaves, it is refreshing to hear artists like Beck take the tempo down a notch and seduce our ears with some good old fashioned crooning.
Pour you a glass of scotch, turn the lights down low, put this track on and let Beck take you back into the 30s.
Following on from other successful collaborations, Laura Hillman & Opus Orange have released That Is To Say as a free download to fans who ‘like’ their Facebook page.
The track features a few more electronic production elements than usual but the catchy hook and the nod to surfing culture still shines through. To get a download of this follow the link below and after ‘liking’ their page you will be given the option to download the tack in just about any format you desire.
I know I’m a little late discovering this band, but if you haven’t heard their music before, then you too are in for a treat.
The band have a distinctly American folk sound similar to that of Edward Sharpe and Local Natives as well as sharing vocal comparisons and song structures akin to Boy & Bear andMumford & Sons.
But while other bands may share similarities with Other Lives, the group definitely has enough prowess to command its own fanbase. The layering of pianos, vocals and orchestration make For 12 a haunting, otherworldly listen - maybe this is the effect the band was going for with the photo. If this is the case, then Other Lives have certainly pulled it off, maybe at the expense of spooking off a few potential fans. I’m sure that most folk loyalists will not be scared away so easily.
If you are not already familiar with RüFüS, then you won’t be for long. The Sydney group have just released their second EP, continuing on from their successful formula of dance-friendly, dark indie-pop.
The low synths are a moody accompaniment to Tyrone Lindqvist’s echoing vocals. Selena can be found on the new EP, which is simply called Blue. The lead single, This Summer, was released in late March and you can purchase tracks at your leisure from iTunes if you are that way inclined.
Tour dates below:
Melbourne Fri 13th April Phoenix Public House
Newcastle Fri 20th April Cambridge Hotel - Side Bar
Sydney Sat 21st April Spectrum
Canberra Tue 24th April Trinity Bar
Perth Fir 27th April Speakeasy @ Villa** w/ co-headliners The Rubens
There is very little information about American folk artist Jon Swift. His brief bio on his website lists his influences as being “his experiences with travel, personal challenges, social dysfunction, and most importantly, nature.”
I came across his music after sitting through a Corona commercial at the movies. This song was playing and I made a mental note to track it down. The rest is history. Chances are, you’ve probably heard a snippet ofRun River from the ad without realising what the track was called.
At the moment, Swift is recording a new album in the coastal town Byron Bay in New South Wales.
Anthony Gallagher - Thoughts From A Balcony Instrumental
I love hip hop. Always have, always will.
I love hip hop so much that when I’m studying, doing assignments or just putting my thinking cap on, I still want to listen. Depending on how many neurons are firing, I can sometimes tune out the rapid syllabic onslaught and still get my phonological processor cracking on the task at hand.
Other times, when my brain is meekly crawling along, I have to listen to hip hop instrumentals. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. Take this track for example. Without Mac Miller (pictured) spitting about some wicked form of gluttonous debauchery, the beat still sounds nice. If you want Thoughts From a Balcony but don’t have a balcony, I suggest you download this instrumental and get down to doing whatever it is you do best.
The Local Natives dominated my iPod for a considerable amount of time in early 2010 when I heard their debut album Gorilla Manor. After I’d memorised the LP, I went hunting through the band’s back catalogue (mainly finding music released under the band’s previous name Cavil at Rest) and during this hunt I came across a terrific rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's song 'Cecilia.'
The band’s harmonising skills are one of their strengths and the simple arrangement is instantly enjoyable on ‘Cecilia.’ Most of the natives play percussion on this number - you can watch them perform this on Youtube (poorer audio) and see one member actually play a tree with drumsticks! Classic!
I can attest to the strength of their live performance, as I caught a show in early 2011, so if they are ever performing at a venue near you, I implore you — buy tickets!
The band are releasing their new album soon, though no release date has been set. For now, enjoy ‘Cecilia.’
Set Sail have released a new track today that is available for a free download from their Bandcamp in exchange for your email address.
Recorded in Stockholm, Skin and Bones is a song full of sentiment, strumming and some violin too. The band also announced via their Facebook page that their debut album is due to be released on May 25th. People who are new to the group should expect to hear a lot more of the Sydney trio as I anticipate they have the kind of accessability and potential to gain mass appeal.
To hear the song live check out the group’s Tumblr page.
Capital Cities feat. Tupac Shakur - Breathe (Pink Floyd Cover)
When I came across a Capital Cities track I hadn’t hear before I thought I’d give it a listen. When I discovered that song also featured Tupac and Pink Floyd, I knew that I’d have to reserve judgement to hear if the group could do it justice. I’m glad to say the electro-duo did not disappoint.
Obviously the Pink Floyd original has been interpreted by Capital Cities (and die-hards may be enraged) but this is a fun and upbeat take on the original. Tupac’s verse takes the mood of the song to another level showing that even thugs can get their groove on to bugged out synths.
When Mat McHugh, the frontman of surf-rock group The Beautiful Girls, visited a fortune teller in India over ten years ago, he made many predictions which have since come true. The fortune teller also predicted that Mat would make his “most important creative work” in 2012.
According to Mat, he spent a long time interpreting what that meant. He decided to record an album inspired by love and also decided that it had to be shared.
He has released a brand new 10 track album called Love Come Save Me which is available as a free download over at his website. The entire record is easy to listen to and reminds me of Jack Johnson and Little Joy's kind of feelgood surf music.
Every song on the Mountain Range's new EP A Heart Upon rewards the listener with lush soundscapes - But perhaps none are as immediately gratifying as the opener With Skates.
I could spend a good 1,000 words describing the enchanting elements of the music, but I don’t think they could do it much justice. In the end you really need to listen to the track yourself to get a proper understanding of how an mp3 file can glimmer and come to life in your speakers as you listen.
I have such confidence in this song that I began writing this piece halfway through my first listen. This one is going to be on repeat for a while to come. Visit Leeds based musician Mountain Range's bandcamp where you can name your price for a copy of the EP.
It took me a few days to get my head around the latest release from UK’s Jai Paul.
He has practically distorted every instrument in the song but it still remains very listenable. The synths and bassline sound filtered and submerged while Jai’s own smooth crooning soars above the effects.
This is very much a funky r&b track. It will be interesting to see what other music Jai Paul is capable of when he releases his debut album later this year.
If you have not heard it already, you need to check out this remix of the man’s amazing debut track BTSTU.
One of my all time favourite guitarists is John Frusciante. I think 90% of people around the world would have heard his music in one form or another. He was the lead guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (from 1988 to 1992 and again from 1998 to 2010) and responsible for creating unforgettable music during his time in the band.
He is also a talented and prolific solo artist in his own right. I don’t own a great number of his solo albums but Falling really captures what I love about his skill on guitar - at times speedy and complex, at times minimalist and progressive. The range in music styles in his back catalogue is really surprising and he is a musician who is willing to experiment in his music despite having mastered a range of guitarist techniques already.
Download - Falling (link will direct you to source)