You can include Sidewalk Diamonds in that huge pool of Australian musicians who worship at the altar of sires Forster and McLennan. The latter songwriters’ achievements with the Go-Betweens are an ever-replenishing source of inspiration, and Sidewalk Diamonds do well to take cues rather than engage in mimicry.
It was four years ago that Mildlife dropped their ‘Arriving Soon’ / ‘How Long Does It Take?’ single. At that time they were probably the best known ‘Mild’ band in Melbourne. In recent years Totally Mild have claimed that mantle, but there’s no chance of confusion, as the two bands inhabit distinctly different territory. Mildlife are a rock band gone electronic, at times recalling the likes of Animal Collective and Cornelius.
Sydney four-piece Phantastic Ferniture are led by Julia Jacklin, who’s an emerging folk-rock solo artist in her own right. PF’s work is of a more freewheelin’, dream-chasing quality than her solo material, but both projects are damn good. This suggests Jacklin will face a difficult choice in the not too distant future, as both outlets have the makings of big news.
Cable Ties are a garage rock trio with curious impulses. Thrashing out by-numbers belters ain’t their game. Here you’ll find anthemic choruses, kraut rock rhythms and noise rock solos infiltrating the punk rock foundations.
At first glance Yuuca sound a bit dated; Last Dinosaurs wannabes who’re a bit late to a party no one invited them to. But once you see through this veneer you’ll find a canny indie pop band with a wistful demeanour that begins to affect your own temperament.
Motez makes speckled, bass-heavy, hip hop-influenced house music. His eyes are firmly on getting that dance floor moving. It’s pretty of-the-moment, which puts it at risk of losing its gleam once the trend shifts. His productions aren’t crude though, so there’s every chance this stuff’ll survive.
The term garage rock hasn’t always been used to refer to grimy music played by the apathetic or the anarchistic. The Kinks are one of the genre’s pioneers, and the first couple of decades of their existence were devoted to writing sophisticated pop songs that didn’t play by the rules. The Jensens don’t sound a great deal like The Kinks, but they do share an affinity for choral backing vocals and penetrating pop hooks.
Followers of the Melbourne rock/punk underground will notice a number of familiar faces in Terry (we’ll let you figure out who exactly). But even if this were their only project, it’d be just as capable of getting attention. Terry’s songs offer a rudimentary take on anthemic punk. Tearing away the layers of distortion and presenting the vocals as slightly disinterested ruminations lets you focus in on the details – the incisive melodies and the naively expressive lyrics.
Saturday May 7 – John Curtin Hotel – Melbourne, VIC
Henry Wagons is a fantastic showman. With his band Wagons, he’s spent close to two decades making rooms full of people swoon to country rock songs of heartbreak and hedonism. He’s now made his first official solo LP, After What I Did Last Night, which is apparently the product of a dream recording session with producer Skylar Wilson. The heartbreak and hedonism continues, and Henry sounds freer than ever.
It’s not infeasible to predict Tame Impala will have a Nirvana-like influence on young Australian musicians; a future of nowhere-near rip off projects is just ahead. And there’s nothing wrong with that; everybody’s gotta start somewhere. King Colour are avowedly (and evidently) fans of Kevin Parker’s catalogue, leaning closer to the psych rock stylings of his early releases.