The union of four individually accomplished and often-noisy Melbourne music-makers, Lower Plenty are as rough as they are beautiful, as bleedingly vulnerable as they are melodically sweet. Their live shows have been irregular of late, but they’re set to re-appear this week, perhaps with some new additions to their already bountiful bag of heartbreaking tunes.
AVERAGE ART CLUB
Not reinventing the artform by any means, but not so average as their appellation claims. Driving bass lines and a cool, slinky melodicism distinguishes this Brisbane bunch. Individuality surely isn’t too far off, but for now an engaging zing of adrenalin underpins their work.
Jagged guitars, sixteenths on the hi-hats, wandering bass lines, and morose baritone vocals – sounds like the recipe for a Joy Division song. Despite this, Nobody’s Inn don’t sound like post-punk aspirants. In fact, they’re more indebted to bent and scungy blues rock a la Crime and the City Solution or the Gun Club.
Turning folk tunes into rock belters is risky business. You can come off sounding like a malnourished arena wannabe or have your quiet introspection transformed into over-earnest pomp. Jacob Diamond would be more than capable of holding court with his acoustic guitar and nimble, soulful vocals. However, with a fleshed out backing band he shoots for the sky, part Pavement, part Jeff Buckley.
Melbourne garage punk scene affiliate Karli White opts for a different kind of subversion. White utilises 3D drum sounds and unnerving synths to map out the apocalypse. No mug, she also uses affecting melody to soundtrack the universe’s downfall.
OK Badlands got grace, they got style. But they don’t have annoying nasal voices. They’ve also got cool post trip hop bass lines and levitating vocal melodies. In contrast to the badlands of their name, there’s plenty of opportunity for things to grow and flourish here.
THE FRUITY WHITES
The Fruity Whites write songs centred on the most juvenile of subjects – big, alarmingly cheap bags of wine (or a similar, presumably grape-derived fortified liquid). We’ve probably all been victims of several-dozen too many slugs of goon at some time or another. And despite how buoyant these guys’ tunes are, they’re ugly enough to depict the feeling of the morning after a big night on the fruity white stuff.
Punk And Rock
Sentimental, laboured, precise, and strangely uplifting – these aren’t descriptors commonly applied to punk music. At least not the way the term gets used in the contemporary music environment. But that’s what sets TV Colours apart. There are still a lot of fast tempos, filthy guitars and gang vocals, adding up to a stirring, affective experience.
ROSCOE JAMES IRWIN
RJI sounds like a sweetheart. He looks straight into the lens and pours his heart out. It’s not threatening, though. In fact, that’s Irwin’s biggest drawback – the easygoing nature of his music. However, it’s more James Taylor than Vance Joy, and thank goodness for that.
The Saxons have a song called ‘Don’t Piss On My Seat’. But despite the angered implications of its title, the song’s quietly ruminating delivery suggests these guys are so polite they had a write a song to ask someone to stop pissing on the toilets seat. It’s a becoming quality, to be sure.