ALBUM REVIEW: Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now

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Hot on the heels of her collaborative album with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop backs it up with a new solo album that dives deeper into her experimental songwriting, drawing on folk, indie and art pop.

The songs here are minimal, skeletal even. Simple percussive elements, at one point just the keys of a typewriter, form the basis for hypnotic melodies and lyrical concerns that often draw on themes of empowerment, seizing one’s destiny and the moment.

It’s Hoop’s sense of musical adventure and experimental lean, yet not at the expense of a strong song, that lends comparison to St Vincent and a more organic Bjork. Endlessly catchy and boldly creative, Memories Are Now is a thrilling escape from the doldrums.

Chris Familton

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NEW MUSIC: Mac DeMarco Announces New LP ‘This Old Dog’

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Mac DeMarco recently upped and relocated to LA from Queens, NY and the transition to a new city had a slowing effect on his writing and recording process this time around. He sat with the songs a while and then stripped them back to acoustic guitar, drum machine and synth, giving the new album much more of a laidback (is that possible) and skeletal sound.

This Old Dog is out on May 5th via Captured Tracks/Remote Control Records. Check out the first two singles below.

  1. Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog

    1. My Old Man
    2. This Old Dog
    3. Baby You’re Out
    4. For the First Time
    5. One Another
    6. Still Beating
    7. Sister
    8. Dreams From Yesterday
    9. A Wolf Who Wears Sheeps Clothes
    10. One More Love Song
    11. On the Level
    12. Moonlight on the River
    13. Watching Him Fade Away

NEW MUSIC: Quivers – Pigeons

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Originally hailing from Hobart Tasmania, Quivers are now based in Melbourne and have a new cassette/download album out called We’ll Go Riding on the Hearses. Their bio name-checks Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, The Triffids, The Chills, Twerps and Courtney Barnett which is a mighty fine barrel of sounds from which to draw from in our opinion. On the first single Pigeons they nail a swaying melancholic jangle, all bittersweet and wistful. A great first taste of the album.

“All my best friends are a little broken, all the best people are.”

Live Shows:

  • Saturday 10th September @ The Grand Poobah, Melbourne + Heart Beach, The Out of Towners.
  • Saturday 17th September @ The Pinnacle, Melbourne + Tall Shores & Oscar Lush
  • Saturday 1st October @ Tokyo Sing Song, Sydney
  • Saturday 22nd October @ Post Office Hotel, Melbourne

NEW MUSIC: The Lemon Twigs – These Words

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The Lemon Twigs are the brothers Brian (19) and Michael (17) D’Addario from Long Island who I came across online a month or two ago. They caught my attention with this song These Words and another single As Long As We’re Together. Madcap technicolour pop sounds by the pair who write and play everything on their recordings.

I’ve been digging the glam, baroque-pop sound of others like Kyle Craft of late and these guys definitely fall into the same camp (excuse the pun). Awesome 60s production (by Jonathan Rado of Foxygen) on their stuff too. Drums up front and natural sounding and plenty of over-the-top flavours in the mix.

The Lemon Twigs are set to release their debut LP Do Hollywood on October 14th via 4AD/Remote Control Records here in Australia. Hopefully if it gets traction we’ll get to see them out here for some shows. I reckon they’d be a blast live.

NEW MUSIC: The Tambourine Girls – The Tambourine Girl

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The Tambourine Girls feature 3 ex-members of Sydney band Deep Sea Arcade who are now forging their own winding path through the outer reaches of garage-pop and psychedelia.

They’ve just released the catchy and near-eponymous new single ‘The Tambourine Girl’, with the clip below.

Recorded with producer Tim Whitten (Powderfinger, The Go-Betweens, Hoodoo Gurus), the song itself is captivating, evocative in its execution encompassing the mythology of the muse, a subject woven through carefully as well as the very fabric of pop culture as a whole. Twiggy. Marilyn Munroe. Christie Brinkley. And The Tambourine Girl. “She dances and I follow and when I wake up I am empty, so I fill myself up and do it all again.”

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ALBUM REVIEW: Bryan Estepa & The Tempe Two – Every Little Thing

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Rating8Bryan Estepa returns with album number five and it continues the rich vein of effortless 70s singer/songwriter vibes, a dose of soulful yacht rock and the sweet and lonesome side of country music.

Every Little Thing finds Estepa reconfiguring his band (The Tempe Two) to a trio of bass, drums and guitars and it was a good call, it suits his songs perfectly. It allows the songs to breathe more, strong vocal harmonies ringing out and hanging in the air while the rhythm section finds a wealth of interesting paths to explore – from lightly swinging funk to tumbling, propulsive rhythms.

Sensitivity in songwriting is nothing new but it so often descends into soporific and saccharine sentimentality or self-absorbed wallowing. Estepa successfully walks the fine line between that and a bruised, honest and often resolute romanticism. Over a finger-picked guitar and strings on At Least You Didn’t Know he recalls Elliott Smith, while on Sooner Or Later he dials in a wistful, dreamy melancholy that quietly screams optimism.

The yacht rock sound that Estepa explored on his previous album Heart Vs Mind are again present, though they are now more subtly absorbed into the songs and indeed the album as a whole. Steely Dan and Hall & Oates are updated with the kind of sweet and soulful sounds that Wilco do so well and though there are clear antecedents in Estepa’s songwriting style, from the Beatles to The Jayhawks, he never falls into the trap of replicating the style of his heroes. He acknowledges and references them with a clever chord change, a vocal reach or a knowing groove; always keeping his own stories and voice at the forefront of his music. Every Little Thing is beautifully recorded and stacks up as Estepa’s most complete and concise set of recordings to date.

Chris Familton