NEW MUSIC: Azu Tiwaline – Izen Zaren

Today we’ve got a new track from the Sahara and El Djerid region in the south of Tunisia. Azu Tiwaline is a producer who blends dub-influenced and psychedelic desert electronica that moves and flows with a real fluidity and sense of spirit.

Izen Zaren‘ is a track that comes from the second part of her 2020 album Draw Me A Silence Part II (check out Part I HERE) and since then she’s also released the new Magnetic Service E.P.

There’s a wonderful techno minimalism to her sound. Dark and precise, heavily percussive and spacious and intimate at the same time. The atmosphere she builds across the track is both tribal and sci-fi as the sound-effects spark and scatter across the stereo spectrum, above the winding hypnotic melodies and ominous percussive march – of which ultimately is a soulful sound built on amazing sonic architecture.

NEW MUSIC: Tom Ashbrook – Oaktrees

Ambient and (neo)classical compositions can often tread a fine line, evaporating into the ethereal realm or overstating their grandeur. Both extremes lack the required balance of satiating the heart and the mind. In the hands of auteurs such as Nils Frahm, Brian Eno and Harold Budd, music of this ilk can blossom and sway with the most subtle of transitions and adjustments – and it’s those qualities we’re always looking for when we’re hunting out new artists and compositions.

Tom Ashbrook, a British composer, fulfils and exceeds the criteria on this new track ‘Oaktrees’, the third single released from his new EP Sensibus. You can hear the mechanics of his playing and the surrounding sonic detritus in the air. Soft synth pads widen the textural qualities of the piece and summon both the immersive sensation of being underwater and in space. Drift and a poetic sense of flotation being the common factor.

NEW MUSIC: Lewis Goldmark – Twilighting

Lewis Goldmark is the name of the new project from Liam Judson, best known for his work with Belles Will Ring and his production work with bands such as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and Cloud Control. ‘Twilighting‘ is his debut single and the first taste of a full-length album, set for release in 2020.

The single is a warm and wistful slice of indie guitar pop. There’s a nostalgic and atmospheric psychedelic streak winding through the chiming six-string action that recalls the more subtle moments of Sonic Youth. There’s also a super-catchy chorus that hits the melodic heights of bands such as The Chills.

“Twilighting is a way of me describing the moment just before sleep where your brain wanders off into the craziest thoughts and you accept them – only to realise how crazy they are if you happen to snap out of it and wake up. The fact that you don’t see them as strange thoughts when they’re happening is interesting to me. It’s the twilight of going to sleep. The guitars are meant to glow and represent the purple and pinks of late sunset.”

NEW MUSIC: Abracadabra – Dirty Pan

There’s a wonderfully deadpan, stylised quality to this new single from Oakland CA duo Abracadabra (duo Hannah Skelton and Chris Niles). It’s pure 80s synth pop – the good kind where robots and fashion were the future, Kraftwerk were kings and neon was a colour.

There’s also a playfulness to the music of ‘Dirty Pan’, a day-glo utopian sound built on lush washes of keyboards such as The Fairlight CMI and pulsing, robotic drums. It’s like Stereolab and Cabaret Voltaire jamming on the international space station.

Many of the songs reflect upon our fragility as humans, our inability to predict or control the future, and the struggle to remain stable despite the chaos of urban life on a deteriorating planet.”

Abracadabra’s self-titled debut album will be out on July 24 via Anniversary.

NEW MUSIC: Seatbelts – Sinful City

The jangly art-pop factor is high on this new track from the new project based around James Madden and Ryan Murphy of Liverpool indie pop quartet, Hooton Tennis Club. The horns are the clincher, giving it a soft soul sound before a fuzzed out guitar solo brings the song to an abrupt halt. Infectious as hell too. Reminds us a bit of a cross between The Phoenix Foundation, Parquet Courts and The Coral.

‘Sinful City’ explore the themes of capitalism, modernisation, and escapism touched upon on Seatbelts’ previous EPs. Big city living has its drawbacks – one can fnd themselves in high demand. How is our sense of self influenced by the temptations found in the shimmery delights of the modern city? “A lifestyle on constant trial… Despair and desperation take hope”, sings James Madden (vocals/guitar), his urgent vocal delivery painting a picture of an inner drama unravelling: a final attempt to seek beauty, hope, and clarity within a sinful metropolis.

SPECIAL SOUNDS FOR STRANGE TIMES: Romy Vager (RVG)

Over the last few months, one of the things many people have been turning to during periods of isolation during the pandemic is music. Music for distraction, companionship, solace and joy. Whatever the reason, putting on a favourite album or discovering something new that pulls you in and hits the spot, intellectually or emotionally, can be a great and wonderful experience. In this series we check in with musicians, journalists and broadcasters to see what has inspired repeat listening and provided some special sounds for these strange times.

RVG have always garnered great reviews but they’ve hit the jackpot with the recent release of their album Feral, gaining stellar reviews locally and internationally. Romy Vager, the creative force behind RVG (Romy Vager Group) kindly took the time to give us an insight into what records she’s been listening to and loving over the last few months.

Read our review of Feral.

“On Feral, Vager’s dissection of how it feels to be sidelined and disenfranchised is treated poetically and ultimately there’s a sense of hope and resilience that rises from the near perfect musical backdrop.”

Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains (2019)

“I’ve been forced to watch my friends enjoy ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude”. That’s a magic line, it’s a line Leonard Cohen could’ve written. The whole album is killer but those first three tracks, they’re like Harry Dean Stanton smoking bongs with the four horsemen of the apocalypse. 

I really also love the song ‘She’s Making Friends, I’m Turning Stranger’. I feel that one in my soul. Sometimes it feels as if some people are Eloi and some are Morlocks and there’s not a lot anyone can do about it. 

Daisy Chainsaw – Eleventeen (1992)

I’ve been listening to this again because it reminds me of a dear friend who passed away recently and who I always thought was the personification of this record. She liked this band and I feel the connection to her when I play it. Music’s good for that. I love how unhinged this record sounds. It’s like nothing else. I love the childlike language of it. It’s like a fucked up Alice In Wonderland but in a good way, not in a Tim Burton way. 

The Kinks – Face To Face (1966)

I keep thinking about when we were in London, we went to listen to Ray Davies in conversation at Rough Trade. You had to buy his new record to speak to him afterwards so instead we just stood in the corner and silently stared at him. We were in awe. I mean there was THE Ray Davies. He’s better than the fucking Beatles! 

Every Kinks record before 1974 is my favourite record but Face to Face is hitting me the hardest in quarantine. ‘Too Much on my Mind’ is the song I keep singing to myself in the shower. I love the simplicity of it, it’s beautiful and it’s true.

Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive (2019)

“He’s dead, yeah, he died. Can’t you remember? That’s what you’re here for”. I love that delivery. Adelaidians have a similar deadpan reaction to death as British people do. People from the East Coast are taken back by it. I guess that’s why they think we’re all serial killers.

This record has barely left the turntable since December of last year. One thing I’ve learnt about punk music, if you don’t have a touch of humility and tenderness then it’s just vanity and posturing. Unrelated but there’s a line from The Residents that says “ignorance of your culture is not considered cool”. I can almost hear that sentence in Jason’s voice. I love this band. 

NEW MUSIC: Mockcharge – Marauder

New York metal trio Mockcharge deliver in spades on their recent single ‘Marauder’, with its breakneck speed riffs, deadly screams and at its mid-point it drops gears and gets low-slung and sleazy before a hi-hat count-off sends the song to its crashing conclusion. To our ears it sounds like a beautiful collision between Motörhead and White Zombie.

Of the track the band say: “This song was inspired on classic action movies and games such as Doom and Call of Duty. It tells the classic story of the Rambo like guy who is the only one that can win the war. It’s a fun song to play and it’s been fun to listen, just like watching Rambo II and playing Call of Duty.”

Mockcharge

Ed Marson – Guitar and Vocals

Tatiana Turin – Bass

Donnie Hogue – Drums

NEW MUSIC: Midnight Garden

Midnight Garden is Nick Donlin and Zach Vouga, an electronic duo based in San Diego, CA. who have an album called Blue Tomorrows due out on August 12th, 2020.

Sad synth music is the perfect combination to our ears – that mix of synthetic, digital sounds and melancholic human emotion. Midnight Garden mix those ingredients nicely on their single ‘For The Last Time’. It’s a song that rises and falls on heartfelt sighs, tumbling toms and retro 80s synth sounds that never overplay their role in the song.

They’ve also just released a brand new clip for the single ‘Hold Me After’, an emotionally lighter sound but still just as effective with its sonic streak of nostalgia.