MAN MADE MOUNTAIN
Hip Hop Jazz
Producer Billy Hoyle and vocalist Cazeaux O.S.L.O. combine as Man Made Mountain, creating accommodating jazzy hip hop with a critical eye. On their latest EP Congo Square, Cazeaux questions the origins of music and the innate connection that all humankind has to the sounds that inspire us.
A few years ago Daniel Johns offended a lot of people by performing a slowed down, piano and harp rendition of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. He then offended more ‘90s purists(/nostalgists) by releasing an album of sensual R&B-influenced pop. On board for both projects was harpist and producer Jake Meadows, who’s just released the single ‘Lost Entitlement’ featuring vocals from Johns. It’s more akin to Johns’ solo LP than the Nirvana cover, featuring intricately layered, chilled out production and a gliding top-line from Johns.
Songwriter Vera Blue started her journey in Forbes, NSW – a country town somewhere between Bathurst and Dubbo. In recent years, she’s left the country behind and embellished her acoustic song sketches with some shrewdly employed electronics. Her vocals give things an understated grandeur. It’s more Adele than James Blake, but that’s not so bad.
Things in The Maladies’ world are just about to fall apart. Guitars slash at windows and drums push the bulldozer closer to the building. But vocalist Daniele Marando doesn’t mind, and continues to look on in bemusement. Chaos, it seems, it just the way it goes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it while it lasts.
Hunch are a bunch of young’uns from Sydney. They’re still figuring things out (I mean, really, that’s what we’re all doing), and at the moment they have a fondness for devastatingly distorted guitars, with very little bass tone, and sweet melodies presented in a slacker-like yap.
SCOTT & CHARLENE’S WEDDING
Scott & Charlene aren’t nostalgic for the glory days of Neighbours, nor ruing the failure of Kylie’s music to elicit much excitement anytime this decade. Or maybe they are, it just doesn’t factor into the music they make. Led by Craig Dermody, these guys wouldn’t know pretention or posturing if it wacked the lead out of their amplifiers. It’s scrappy as all shit garage rock with melodies that refuse to be cleaned up.
Sahara Beck makes playful alt-country, with a simmering propensity to explode. It’s playful, but also ambiguous, making it so that you’re not sure whether you’re in this together, or if she’s soon to leave you behind, laughing. It creates an interesting tension, which furthers the music’s captivating appeal.
Of course, you know Remi by now. But if you need a reminder, then his latest single ‘For Good’, featuring guest vocals from Sampa the Great, is exactly where to go. The two leading lights of contemporary Australian hip hop – giving us something to be proud of when uttering the phrase Aussie hip hop – combine for a sharp toothed revenge track with a neo-soul groove.
Rock bands are so old hat, right? The Drones sensed this was the case ahead of Feelin Kinda Free, their latest LP and one of the best things to come from a rock band in recent memory. Some of it’s very depressing. But some of it’s utterly hilarious. Latest single, ‘Boredom’, sits between the two extremes; a groovy, hip hop-influenced track about the horrible inhumanity that permeates Australia.
The Pissedcolas write songs that sound like they were conceived on the brink of the first wave of punk rock. They’re nasty things, dirty as a sharehouse bath mat and as tense as a peak hour train carriage. But there’s none of the strictures that came to dominate the punk movement. Pissedcolas do what they please – a sprinkle of metal here, a hint of blues rock there – and it sounds pretty bloody great.