From eardrum-assaulting attacks to soulful embraces, for our first five-pack of 2016 we go far and wide across the plains of new, local music.
Any suspicions of a shift towards a quieter, melodic sound is quickly snuffed out within the opening seconds. This is vintage DZ: sharp, piercing riffs and pounding drums that'll undoubtedly provide the metronomic measure for future festival moshpits. However, "Blood On My Leather" — a one-off single — hints at a migration towards a more vocal-led focus. The expected weight of attitude is delivered not with effects and bruised skins, but with a rambling snarl reminiscent of the Beastie Boys' rock/rap hybridity. Even amidst slightly cliched slogans like "no need for sleep", the tongue-tied jabber snugly fits the late-night, sleep-when-youre-dead DZ Deathrays world.
Introduced as a simple stream of consciousness, "New York, Paris" takes lead from its authors' own moniker, slowly migrating from introspection to a far larger stage. While the formative melodic mind dump — a Frank Turner-like flow — is most engaging, the inevitable climatic implosion showcases the Melbourne duo are also capable of adapting their quotable lines from personally poignancy to emotionally-charged moments.
Ahead of their debut LP — set for release in April — Slowly Slowly hit the road for a handful of dates over the next few months, details here.
Following 2015's introductory — and slightly disjointed — demo "If", Collarbones and Black Vanilla vocalist, Marcus Whale (pictured above), has revealed the debut single from his forthcoming debut LP, Inland Sea.
"My Captain" is a tense-loaded offering, Whale's soulful delivery structured as the captivating dramatic lead over a scattered backdrop that delicately trickles into a mid-set free-form dance implosion. In describing the track, the singer hints that the restless compositional palette is the second priority behind the narrative of "My Captain": "a queer origin story" structured around the early colony romance of Captain Moonlite and James Nesbitt.
"Moonlite and Nesbitt's mythology is situated in darkness, desperation and failure; less bushrangers than starving vagabonds out of work", Whale explains, adding that "These lovers (along with a band of impoverished boys) were cornered at a sheep station by police in a gunfight, Nesbitt dying from gunshot wounds in Moonlite's arms."
Whale re-examines this 19th century legend from his own vantage: "I want my queerness to reject the heteronormative forces that govern us, now and from the past" Against this background, 'My Captain' is my hymn to the power of queer resistance.'"
Inland Sea is set for release in May via Good Manner Records.
Much like its predecessor, "Reset", the second single lifted from Halcyon Drive's forthcoming EP balances alt-pop punchiness with soulful personality. While vocally siding significantly closer to the latter, the clarity of the composition — not too far removed from the too-brief brilliance of UK's Clor — remaings the most captivating facet of the Melbourne trio's sound.
Teasingly, the group's EP is not set to be released until later in the year, hopefully proceeded by at least one more single. Before which, they'll hit the road for a short run of dates, details here.
With a polished accompanied video that suggests otherwise, the first official from Twin Fires is a brilliant introduction to the Sydney trio's sound.
Preferencing the guitar-led, southern-US blues of mid-2000s indie rock (notably early Kings of Leon and closer to home, The Exploders) over the electro-laced direction of their current brethren, Twin Fires delicately flirt with the line of nostalgic charm. Thankfully saved from such cliched methods of replication by their energetic delivery which, from all reports, is even further evident in their live show.
Catch them doing just that on a handful of East Coast dates over the next month, in support of The Snowdroppers.