NEW MUSIC: Damien Binder – Everything But

Following the release of his first single for 2021, ‘Here It Is’, Perth-based New Zealand singer-songwriter Damien Binder releases its follow-up ‘Everything But’.

The new single ‘Everything But‘ continues Damien’s exploration of a new stylistic direction. He’s taken his proven credentials as a consummate songwriter and married them with the acclaimed production nous of Matt Gio (Katy Steele, Birds of Tokyo, Abbey May, Rudimental). The melodies sound even sweeter, the songs more poetic and the overall sound is one that defies categorisation by way of its universality.

Both of Damien’s new singles are the first taste of his fifth solo album currently in production with Gio. It’s been five years since Damien released his last album, the critically acclaimed A New World – years in which he relocated from Sydney to Perth, refocused on his songwriting craft and has now returned with renewed intent and exemplary songs. 

As Damien explains, as “Everything But’ started to take shape in the studio it was the instrumentation that shaped the sound and feel of the final recording. “When we started out building the track Matt got this drum and keyboard feel going which reminded me a little of  some parts of ‘Tunnel of Love’ (Springsteen) – Not a bad thing I thought!”

On the surface the track emanates a warm glow, the perfect counterpoint to the gentle sway of acoustic guitar and the clipped accents of an electric guitar.

The sound the pair conjured up is one that perfectly reflects the idea and sentiment behind the song. “We decided to follow that vibe keeping it spare but atmospheric and driving forward. Originally while writing this I was looking back a bit at the path that brought me to this point in the last 5 years, about the idea of growth & independence and one’s intuition, of learning to listen to and trust it,” Damien reveals. “I wanted to try and capture the mood of that journey while still looking forward.”

The feel of ‘Everything But’ is one of classic melancholic indie rock as Damien reflects on his personal journey while casting his eyes to the horizon. The War On DrugsThe PoliceNeil Finn and widescreen 80s pop are all sonic and stylistic touchstones on this evocative new single from an artist who continues to explore and develop his world-class songwriting craft.

Anatomy Class release video clip for their single Welcome To The Ages

Australian band Anatomy Class are excited to release the video clip accompanying their new 2021 single ‘Welcome To The Ages‘ directed and animated by stop-motion animators Eleanor & Giovanni.

As Ant Rosen explains, the whole creative process of putting together the clip, was a highly rewarding experience. “Working on the video for ‘Welcome To The Ages’ was a really cool process. Eleanor & Giovanni work out of their home studio space in Canberra and I was drawn to their style after seeing some of the projects they had worked on. We met a bunch of times over Zoom (as you do in this day and age) to discuss the song and the feelings it evokes, which lead to ideas for the video. We came up with the idea where the main character falls into a bit of a time vortex, exploring things from his past and travelling through time before he needs to get back to where he started from. It’s a bit abstract and dreamlike, and even though it’s animated, I feel there is real life and emotion that comes through in the video. It’s a fun clip too, I reckon it looks unreal!”

I don’t even know what’s right, and I can’t get to sleep at night, just take me back to where we were before,” sings Rosen through the chorus, an exceptionally relatable refrain in 2021. However, when those words arrive on ‘Welcome To The Ages,’ they seem to be delivered from that world of love, rather than the world of fear. 

“All the songs are personal in their own way,” admits Rosen, “but a song like ‘Welcome To The Ages’ in particular is one which is quite reflective for me. Even more so now after such big personal life changes for me coupled with what we’ve all collectively gone through recently with the global pandemic. I hope that sentiment resonates through.”Arriving with the warm immediacy of power pop, swaddled in layers of guitar reverb and subtle harmonies, ‘Welcome To The Ages’ possesses that same sense of awe that drifted through so much of the triumphant rock and roll that emerged at the turn of the century. Indeed, Anatomy Class has always worn its ’80s and ’90s influences on its proverbial sleeves – from the classic sounds of Lemonheads, Swervedriver an Pixies – through to the more modern day acts like Doves, The War On Drugs and DIIV.For Anatomy Class, it’s an exciting return with what they see as just the first taste of what quite possibly is some of the best music of their career. “I feel these are our strongest collection of songs yet,” says Rosen. “After years playing together, particularly for Nick and I, the song-writing process felt a lot more intuitive and focused on what the Anatomy Class sound is all about.”

NEW MUSIC: Tearjerker – Deep End

Tearjerker recently released this video clip for their new single ‘Deep End’, a dreamy, drifting slice of indie guitar rock that impresses with its slow-motion, heavy-lidded sound. Guitar notes unfurl and dissolve over the metronomically simple yet effective drumming and cyclical rhythmic quality of the song.

Things take a beautifully hypnotic and immersive turn as the song fades from view in an ether of ambience and soft bed of field recordings.

Deep End is the title track for the Toronto, Canada trio’s new EP which is out now.

NEW SINGLE: The Finalists – Hunting Knife

The third single from The Finalists‘ debut album First, ‘Hunting Knife’ finds the band digging into a big bright sound that showcases their love of chiming and dreamy guitars, lively drums, melodic bass lines and melancholic hooks aplenty. Across its three minutes, songwriter Mark Tobin sings of a catastrophist who starts smoking again because he believes the world will end before he gets cancer.

All we need’s fresh water 
A magnesium fire starter
A hunting knife 
Marlboro Lights 
And a big box of Amoxicillin

The band’s debut single, ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)‘, which was a featured single of the week on 2ser 107.3FM, is an understated slice of melodic melancholia, draped in acoustic and electric guitars that sparkle and gently jangle. In contrast, their second single ‘Learn To Live Without You, whichpremiered on the AU review, is a concise and infectious, garage and jangle-pop guitar nugget, harking back to the golden age of the two and half minute pop song. The track was selected by The Guardian for their Best New Australian Music column and playlist for November 2020.

NEW MUSIC: Restless Leg – The World’s A Room

Restless Leg 2021. Photos by Joshua Morris

As Sydney band Restless Leg prepare to release their new LP Dream Buffet on June 11th, they’ve released the video for its second single ‘The World’s A Room’, directed by Darren Cross.

The opening track to the new album, the single is an infectious, hook-laden slice of jangly guitar pop, reminiscent of the heady sounds of New Zealand band The Bats and their numerous Australian contemporaries trading in melodic indie rock. It’s one of those songs that sways and bobs with freewheeling exuberance, another gem from a band that has mastered the recipe for mixing spirit and verve with poetry, guitars, hooks and melodies.

“This was the last song written for Dream Buffet, at the height of the COVID-lockdown in Sydney in 2020. It was probably around the same time that D.C. Cross released his record of classical guitar compositions (Terabithian) of which he said ‘were not at all concerned with the current social state [i.e. the pandemic]. Total escapism through music’. In stark contrast ‘The World’s A Room’ stares directly into the time-bending tic-toc of lockdown and invites you to dance, by yourself, to some Flying Nun compilation tape you dug out from the early-1990s. It kinda comes at the same problem, but from a different angle,” explains the band’s songwriter, Ben Chamie.


Sat 12th – The Servo, Port Kembla NSW – with guests Dropping Honey and Birdsville
Sat 19th – Sonic Sherpa Records, Greenslopes QLD (3pm instore)
Sat 19th  – Can You Keep A Secret? Woolloongabba QLD – with guests Full Power Happy Hour (5-7pm) 
Fri 25th – The Factory Floor, Marrickville NSW – with guests The Electorate and Knievel

Fri 13th – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla NSW – with guests Froggy Prinze and Looch Lewis & The Press Gangsters
Sat 21st – Nighthawks, Collingwood VIC – with guests Minibikes and The Barebones

ALBUM REVIEW: Squid – Bright Green Field

SquidBright Green Field

(Warp Records / Inertia Music)

The last year or two have felt like yet another golden period of forward-thinking UK music. There has been a fascinating sonic collision of indie, jazz, post-punk, art-rock and avant-pop that has thrown forth various musical enigmas such as Black Midi, Black Country, New Road, Shame, Dry Cleaning and the various jazz-based incarnations of Shabaka Hutchings. The spirit of experimentation and a willingness to stretch or ignore boundaries and genre limitations runs through these and many more as they take music deeper into the 21st century.

Formed in Brighton, Squid signed to the legendary electronic label Warp for their debut album, a sign of their propensity and ability to meld dance with intellectual art rock and avant garde soundscapes. That might sound like a recipe for a messy sound but the band’s strength is how they wrangle those sounds, allow for space when necessary and let fly with flurries of rhythm, discordancy and heady emotion when the songs require it.

Lead vocalist Ollie Judge possesses a commanding voice that barks and yelps and occasionally sings and which may well be a deterrent to some potential listeners. There’s a clear line back to the declamatory style (and at times, obtuseness) of Mark E. Smith as well as LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. Judge employs a range of stylistic approaches to his voice – on ‘Documentary Filmmaker’ he even channels the moody austerity of Interpol’s Paul Banks, a respite for those who prefer a more traditional approach.  

The psychedelic and untethered nature of the album allows ‘Narrator’ to begin like an even nervier Talking Heads before it descends into ecstatic and dystopian howls and shrieks over a persistent cyclical Krautrock rhythm. ‘Pamphlet’ and ‘2010’ doff their caps to Radiohead circa Kid A while ‘Peel St.’ echoes the frantic musicianship of Black Midi with its wondrous dexterity. 

Squid have also drawn from outside their own ranks with a horn and string ensemble featuring the likes of trumpeter Emma-Jean Thackray and saxophonist Lewis Evans from Black Country, New Road. Interspersed between the hyper funk workouts are synth passages and manipulated field recordings that possess musique concrète and soundtrack qualities that create unsettling vibes akin to the Wicker Man film. 

All these strands and disparate elements add up to quite the intoxicating and dizzying collection of highly kinetic and compositionally wide-ranging songs, designed as much for the listener’s cerebral experience as they are some futuristic No Wave, dance-floor. Bright Green Field is an album to go deep with. Layered and aurally tactile, it offers up seemingly endless musical revelations, like travelling through an art exhibition of the greatest pop-art pieces on a fast-moving travelator.  

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: The Goon Sax return with new single and album announcement

photo by Elliott Lauren

Brisbane trio The Goon Sax are back with the first single/video from their forthcoming new LP Mirror II, due out on July 9th on Chapter Music (Aus/NZ) and Matador Records (rest of world).

The first single, ‘In The Stone’, shows the band changing gears from their quirky bedroom guitar pop and exploring no wave, avant pop and post-punk sounds. There’s still that unique homespun feel they always bring to their songs but there’s also a clear indication that the new album is a big step forward in their collective songwriting.

Mirror ll, recorded in Bristol at Invada Studios, owned by Geoff Barrow of Portishead and Beak, with producer John Parish (Aldous Harding, PJ Harvey), is the result of three years of writing, and some considerable time spent apart: Louis relocated to Berlin and worked at a cinema (he sings in German on the track ‘Bathwater’), Riley and James formed an angular post-punk band called Soot. All three experimented with abstract, atonal sounds before recapturing the essence of The Goon Sax: “pop melody,” Louis explains. “The first two albums are inherently linked. They had three-word titles; they went together. This one definitely felt like going back to square one and starting again, and that was really freeing.”

NEW MUSIC: Bandicoot – Dark Too Long

‘Dark Too Long’ is a song that Swansea, UK band Bandicoot describe as a “frenzied cry of desperation from the depths of excess and loneliness, influenced by the driving rhythms of NEU! and Can.” After the initial ambient drift of the intro, it tumbles along in synchronous perpetual motion. There’s the unhinged end of the Radiohead spectrum in play here, as much as a swaggering art pop aesthetic in the production and precision of it all.

They’ve since released another new single Fuzzy which heads in a fun glam direction and which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Supergrass record.