NEW MUSIC: Johnny Conqueroo – Rock and Roll

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Struttin’, shimmering, hard-hitting, vocal shredding, pouting, soulful rama-lama rock ‘n’ roll of the highest form is the order of the day on this track from Johnny Conqueroo (a Lexington, KY trio). Riff rock, MC5-styled shakedown, funk and groove-laden garage rock are all thrown in the musical blender. There’s nothing intellectual about this, there doesn’t need to be. It’s ROCK AND ROLL.

Johnny Conqueroo have a new upcoming EP, Taking it Easy.

NEW MUSIC: Donny Benét – Second Dinner

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The smooth sailing prince of low-slung synth pop and disco funk is back with a new single Second Dinner’. It’s another winning slice of coy 80s electronic pop with shades of Bryan Ferry fronting a sultry disco house band with Giorgio Moroder producing.

TOUR DATES:

  • 04 Oct – Fat Controller, Adelaide, SA
  • 10 Oct – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
  • 11 Oct – Beach Hotel, Byron Bay. NSW
  • 18 Oct – The Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
  • 19 Oct – Mojo’s Bar, Freemantle, WA
  • 25 Oct – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC
  • 02 Nov – The Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW

LIVE REVIEW: Khruangbin @ Metro Theatre, Sydney

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Khruangbin, Harvey Sutherland
Metro Theatre
14 March 14th, 2019

by Chris Familton

This was a night of very few voices given that both acts on the bill were primarily instrumental trios. It was the music that did the talking and it transformed the Metro into a wall-to-wall sea of bodies-in-motion and conjured up a celebratory vibe in the room.

Harvey Sutherland, the self-described funk-synthesist, was up from Melbourne to open the show and by the end of the first song he’d won over the audience with his blend of soul, funk, house, disco and of course the aforementioned funk. The rhythm section were quite astonishing in their fluidity and precision as they constantly found new ways to build rhythmic detail and dynamics into the music while Sutherland wove his cosmic keyboards into melodic dance floor excursions. It was an infectious set that brought to mind Steely Dan filtered through Jamiroquai.

Khruangbin have built their brand on a visual aesthetic that melds black, straight-fringed wigs with explosions of colour and choreographed stage moves delivered with a knowing half-smile and semi-detached cool. That was enhanced on stage with an excellent light show – simple, bold and dramatic utilising colour and shapes, much like the trio’s music, on this first of two sold out nights at the venue.

It quickly became clear that they’ve spend a lot of time and effort into structuring their sets so there is a balance of peaks and valleys, from the hard funk breakbeat of Maria También to the dreamy, sweet and soulful soft tones of Cómo Me Quieres. As a trio they balance each other out wonderfully. Laura Lee is often the most compelling focal point with her knee drops and hip swivels and constantly light-dancing bass-lines, while Mark Speer roams his side of the stage, also in endless motion as a player but with a kind of roving commission to explore all stylistic facets of his guitar, from psych rock solos to dub echoes and flurries of hyper-melodic Thai funk. Holding it all down and providing a framework for which to hang the songs on was drummer DJ Johnson, his playing channeling everything from hip hop breakbeats to James Brown and Portishead.

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Their breakthrough album Con Todo El Mundo provided a large portion of their set but there were also dips back into their debut The Universe Smiles Upon You, with White Gloves being a particular highlight and one of the only songs to feature all three on vocals. As the set progressed we got a strange interaction between Lee and a lonely looking green telephone which seemed kind of pointless and a successful attempt by Speer to get everyone in the room to introduce themselves to the person standing next to them.

Before the encore the entertainment factor peaked with a medley that saw seamless transitions between songs by Ol’ Dirty Bastard, A Tribe Called Quest, Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, and culminating in the crowd joining in on the chorus to Spandau Ballet’s True (via PM Dawn). 

What the trio showed was their ability to translate their music from the intimacy of their recordings to the live stage, where they balanced nuance with deep grooves, hypnotic and sensual rhythms, humour and exceptional musicianship.

NEW MUSIC: Aaron Taos – Loneliness

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The idea of loneliness is explored beautifully on this track from Aaron Taos. He places the vocals right in the middle of the mix while drum machine, atmospheric guitars and other effects swirl and drift around the central vortex of the song.

Taos says of the song… ‘Loneliness’ is a song I wrote when I was going through a really rough patch. I was in the midst of a bout of depression brought out by a stagnation of my career and wasn’t really leaving the house. It was winter, which made things worse. What really helped me feel better was remembering that career/music isn’t everything and appreciating the relationships around me, specifically that of my girlfriend at the time. She was a shining light through my dark time, reminding me that as important as your goals are, connection and love is the foundation of feeling good and whole. 

NEW MUSIC: Coyle Girelli – Love Kills

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Here’s a taste of the new album from Coyle Girelli, released today and available to check out on streaming services. The title-track ‘Love Kills’ has that great shadowy noir feel. A cinematic atmospheric late-night vibe that draws on Roy Orbison grandeur, Manic Street Preachers melodrama and a modern Americana take on Elvis serenading David Lynch. It’s a great lead-in to what sounds like an equally rewarding, full album experience built on the soaring and quite astounding voice of Girelli.

NEW MUSIC: Grand Sun – Go Home

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Here’s the debut single from the Lisbon, Portugal quartet Grand Sun. ‘Go Home’ is a sunny psych pop trip built on bouncing rhythms, quirky diversions in chants and handclaps and, aesthetically speaking, one foot in 90s England and the other in 60s California. A wonderfully infectious track.

Hit up their Bandcamp page below to buy the track at a ‘name your price’ and find links to more info.

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Roadhouses – Roadhouses

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They say that it is harder to play music slowly than it is to play it fast. Things fall apart and momentum is lost. In the case of Sydney trio Roadhouses, sedated rock music is their calling card. They deal in drifting, alt-country-imbued, slowcore torch songs where heartache is just a tear away. If you got Lucinda Williams to front Spain, at the Twin Peaks Roadhouse – you’d have a pretty accurate summation of the sound and aesthetic of this album.

Skirts as short as sin, drinks that don’t touch the side – you get the picture of where Yvonne Moxham takes her songs. Late night bars, heartbreak and yearning populate her songs of burgeoning and fracturing relationships. First you’ll be mesmerised by the band’s haunting, atmospheric sound, then drawn in by Moxham’s lyrics that hang heavy in the air. Drummer Cec Condon (Mess Hall) throws inventive rhythms and accents into the mix, like a slow motion Jim White. 

‘Black Lights’ throws a subtle curveball into proceedings with its melancholic synths and trip hop drumming that brings to mind Everything But The Girl jamming with Cowboy Junkies. Elsewhere, ‘Heartless’ recalls the haunting minimalism of Low and in ‘Drinkin’’ they conjure up a wonderfully lush, swoon and swell of a sound. Sadness, pain and bruised romance never sounded as good as it does on this excellent debut album.

Chris Familton