NEW MUSIC: Blain Cunneen – Feelin’ Kinda Fragile

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Here’s the debut single from Sydney singer-songwriter (and guitarist for Julia Jacklin), Blain Cunneen. ‘Feelin’ Kinda Fragile’ comes from his four track EP The Prizes We Demand which is due out later this year and finds him crafting a fine line in art-pop that reminds us of Beck, Sparklehorse and dEUS .

The song’s melodic hooks are draped over some wonderful angular and interwoven instrumentation, where a light psychedelia is built on simplicity and strong musical ideas rather than being oversaturated in effects or weirdness for weird’s sake. We’re looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP later in 2019.

EP REVIEW: Body Type – EP2

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Body Type
EP2
Inertia Music / Partisan

The Sydney quartet are releasing this, their second EP, on the eve of a UK tour, another sign of the band’s rising star status on the international stage. Of course, they’ve been the local talk of the town for a couple of years, building a solid following via their own shows and some fine support slots. 

If EP was their calling card, their first real statement of intent beyond a couple of earlier singles, then EP2 is another step forward. It solidifies their reputation as incisive songwriters and fine players. They’ve got an ear to the ground but a widescreen songwriting vision.

Opener and first single ”Stingray bursts from the gates with a spray of guitar notes, sparkling and cascading over the nimble rhythm section. It’s a great example of the rush of energy they can invest in their songs, the retention of the rough edges to the music and the economy of their songs. Pop in structure but noisy and damn catchy by nature.

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‘Free To Air’ initially dials things back to a wistful and melancholic slice of dream pop before choppy drums and their swirling jangly guitars take flight. It’s a song apparently inspired by an old neighbour of Annabel Blackman’s and his life as witnessed remotely from her bedroom. Musically the song captures that mood of both intimacy and disassociated observation. ‘Insomnia’ inhabits a similar atmospheric place, the highlight being Blackman’s vocal melody which is heavy-lidded and drowsy yet still irresistibly catchy.

‘Sad Wax’ weaves more of the same snake charmer guitar lines into the song’s DNA but it lacks the same impact and physicality of the other songs on the EP. It’s a pleasant enough track but it sounds under-formed as it repeatedly circles the same musical idea without building or elaborating on it. The final track ‘UMA’ gets things back on track with a different sonic palette. The bass comes to the fore, leading the song into grungier territory akin to Pixies with a dash of Hole. It works wonderfully, all tension and quirks courtesy of shrieks and sneered, gang vocals, capping off an impressive batch of songs from a band that just keep getting better and better.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Wine Flies – Business

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Some wonderfully weird-pop here courtesy of Wine Flies, the solo project of Swedish musician Henrik Lennartsson. It hits that same spaced-out, fever dream vibe of John Maus and Ariel Pink with a warped, lo-fi production aesthetic that accentuates the haunted feel of the music.

“Business was the result of me, merely improvising keys over a beat. I never know what I’m gonna get, since I don’t write the songs beforehand. I’m not at all classically trained in any form, I always just play whatever chords or notes I know until I get something that sounds alright (at least to me). My biggest inspiration is all the bad/boring music I’ve ever heard, because it makes me feel absolutely no pressure what so ever. I simply aim to create something listenable, preferably a hit, but mostly just barely okay. I’m basically just trying to have fun with it, because why not? 

I’d say that my fuel/drive in all of this comes down to the concept of irony. It completely destroyed me as a person, when it first hit me as a younger man, but it is also now the thing that makes me sane and keeps me going, because life is ridiculous, and so am I.“

 

NEW MUSIC: Kidsmoke – Passenger

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Welsh quartet Kidsmoke may have taken their name from a Wilco song (maybe?) but other than a lazy affable strum and an affinity for melody, these four from across the Atlantic make music that is much sunnier, breezier and indie-pop centric. There’s a refreshing simplicity and economy to their songwriting as hooky guitar lines ring out across jangly chords and vocals that bind it all together. They eschew anthems for a more studied intimacy and romanticism in their sound. You can hear the influence of The Smiths, Real Estate, Beach Fossils etc.

‘Passenger’ is the second single to come from their forthcoming debut LP.

NEW MUSIC: Wy – Softie

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Malmö, Sweden duo (Ebba and Michel) Wy are set to released their second LP Softie, at the end of April and this is the title track, a swelling swoon of a song that takes in pop angst, dream-pop swirl and an indie aesthetic. At various times it reminds us of Siouxsie Sioux and Anna Calvi singing the music of Cocteau Twins. It’s emotional and passionate music with cool angles and it threatens but never pushes the emotive quotient too far into bombast. This is their second album and third release following their debut EP Never Was (2016) and their 10-track LP Okay (2018).

‘Softie’ is an attempt at proving there is more than one way of being a functioning human being. The album is about coping, growing out of your fears, learning how to distance yourself from your anxieties and the ups and downs that comes with being bipolar. ‘Softie’ is ultimately about releasing the pressure from yourself and that’s what we have been doing in the process of writing these songs. We ended up with a record that was turbulent, back and forth and non-conforming. And we love that, because it feels very ‘us’ and we really wanted our second album to hit you in the face rather than rock you to sleep.”

 

NEW MUSIC: Kerchief – Til The End

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A sultry slice of indie pop/rock this afternoon from American trio Kerchief. They’ve just released their debut album Fluke and ‘Til The End’ is a great example of the way they subtly approach shimmering and sparkling guitars, softly unfurling melodies and a danceable element that gets under the skin. We’re hearing Jen Cloher and Placebo as possible influences on their sound.