Monday, 19 August 2013

New Music Monday #65




Louis Spoils EP
by Louis Spoils (out now)




Let’s talk about something for a second. When you read things about Louis Spoils, the project of Melbourne based Jake Rush, you’re going to read about a bunch of other artists as well. That’s because a bunch of ultra-talented artists have been involved in the recording and production of the debut EP from Louis Spills. Although this is interesting and important, I don’t want to add to the list of names and hype surrounding the people that surround Jake Rush, I just want to add to the hype of Louis Spoils, because someone who can attract the names of friends that he has gathered for this EP, must be quite talented himself.


The self-titled five track EP opens with 'Bugsy Moore', three minutes of lyrics that tell a true story and a beat that’s so catchy it’s almost annoying (in a good way!) Once you can get past the sway it creates, the little story that unfolds is so well told it’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of it all. 'Bugsy Moore' doesn’t really give an indication of what’s to come though, which are four more songs totally different that work together fabulously. That’s something I dare not question, sometimes music just works like that and it’s best to just enjoy.


'Sleep At Night' is darkly addictive, a track I’ve listened to over and over, the lyrics telling the story of fear after dark, 'The Fixx' is somehow subtly sexy, there’s a play with vocals and a reserved sound which explodes at each chorus and 'Modestly Amused' is a beautiful, rich track which starts in one sound, takes you to another landscape of visions and returns you to the lyrics I adore, a sentence that struck a chord with me and I delight in hearing; “I was modest, modestly amused by you”.


 


The track that I love the most though was the simple final track, 'Trace The Walls'. The strings are spine tingling, the simple fairy tale lullaby sound is delightful and the lyrics, ten simple lines, are heartbreakingly charming. This is the track I’m sure I will still be listening to months from now, knowing I’m so glad I was introduced to the adventure that is Louis Spoils.


Ultimately, it’s interesting when talented names you know collaborate with other talented people and come up with amazing and/or sometimes average music. The important part is not the names involved but what the creativity made in the end. Thankfully, Louis Spoils is a collaboration that has ended up as one of the ‘amazing’ parts of music and regardless of who was involved, there’s some talent here that definitely deserves to be heard over and over again. 


Jo Michelmore gives the Louis Spoils EP four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...




Architecture 
by Manor (single out now)




Who is this Manor and where have they been all my life? The Melbourne-based duo features the silky, dreamy vocal work of Caitlin Duff, with Nathaniel Morse providing the sweet, sweet music. Between the swoon worthy opening guitar work and Duff’s ‘Sweet Disposition’-ish kick off, I was sold on Manor’s third single ‘Architecture’ by the about the twenty second mark. This is the sound of a chilled out summer’s day, a long drive to the coast and some afternoon beverages by the water. This is the sound of the next great Australian indie-pop act. I can’t throw enough praise in the direction of Duff’s voice that expertly glides across three and a half minutes of incredible music escapism. ‘Architecture’ left such a good impression that I had to hunt down these other two singles Manor had released – ‘Afghan Hound’ and ‘Rhodesia’. Yep. Just as good. Manor’s debut EP is set for an end of 2013/early 2014 release and it can’t come soon enough. If the new tracks are anything like ‘Architecture’, it’s going to be awesome.


Matt Bond gives 'Architecture' four PJ Harvey heads out of five...




Roar
by Katy Perry
Album: Prism (October 22, 2013)

AND...




Applause
by Lady Gaga
Album: Artpop (November 11, 2013)


I love pop music. Commercial, bubble gum, made for radio and destined for consumption by the masses, made and delivered unto us by superstars, A-grade pop music. Love it. From the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears to Ke$ha, P!nk and beyond. Who doesn’t love a bonafide #1 smash hit? Elitist wankers, that’s who (hello and welcome, you lovable jerks!). At 3:30am on Tuesday morning, I feared I had become a bit of a jerk-face myself, because there I was listening to ‘Applause’ and ‘Roar’ for the first time and I couldn’t help but say out loud to nobody at all, “well, either these suck or I am broken as a human being.”


While the latter scenario could still be in play, rest assured after another ten million listens of each track at ‘normal person’ times of the following days, it’s been decided that both tracks aren’t so bad. They’re almost getting to a level where one might call them good and there’s still hope that one day, in the not too distant future, one might even call them great. The problem for Lady Gaga and Katy Perry was the ridiculous build up and hype surrounding the returns of two of the biggest superstars on the planet. They were practically set up to fail because the expectations put upon their new tracks were high in the way that Mt Everest’s summit is like… really high. Of course, all of that build up and hype was created by the artists themselves. K-Pez was burning her blue wig, eliminating the whipped-cream bra wearing California Gurl persona and heading in an exciting new direction that would blow us all away. Lady Gaga was doing that thing she did with Born This Way where she was making out that she was ready to release the BESTEST THING EVAR LITTLE MONSTERS 911 EMERGENCY and I fell for her trickery again. I bought into the hype. So, all excited about the slap across the face these two poptacular music makers were destined to hit me with, I pressed play first on ‘Roar’ and next on ‘Applause’ and…




… I wasn’t impressed. Not even a little, not even a lot. ‘Roar’ was neither a departure from Perry’s Teenage Dream sound, nor was it the dark, exciting new direction her promo videos had promised. ‘Applause’ had me thinking that there is no such producer as ‘DJ White Shadow’ and this was just a pseudonym for David Guetta. Now, remember, I love pop music. So I left the tracks and listened to them the next day. Round 2 verdict? Still not a fan. The response was more a ‘meow’ and ‘finger clap’ kinda thing. I really, reaaaaally wanted to love them. Again, I decided to put them out of my mind and come back to them the next day. About an hour passed and the tune to ‘Roar’ decided to pop in and say hello. Not just the chorus... the tune to the entire song. Oh, ok. Then I’m just cooking some dinner and my brain is all like, “I stand here waiting for you to bang the gong, to crash the critics saying is it right or is it wrong?” Apparently I was also, “living for the applause.” The initial disappointment was fading away and the laws of ‘pop magic’ were coming into effect as the tracks decided to take over my brain.




Fans of Perry’s ‘Firework’ and ‘Part of Me’ will undoubtedly love the shared empowering message that drives ‘Roar’. Overcoming obstacles and triumphing over personal adversity blah blah blah. “You held me down, but I got up, already brushing off the dust.” Something about being a tiger champion we’ll all hear roar. It’s a nice, positive little message… light, fluffy and easy to bop along to on the radio without having to think too much. Like her previous hits, the tune gets stuck in your head and I can already envisage grossness on the dance floor; people squealing with glee when club remixed Katy, “roaaaaaaaaaars.” Speaking of Glee, this should show up by episode seven of the new season. In a mash up. With ‘Applause’. Fans of Gaga’s debut, The Fame, will undoubtedly love the return to a theme exploring the nature of ‘celebrity’ that drives ‘Applause’. The 80s rock vibes have been traded in and it’s pure sleek, sexy electro-pop once more. “Give me thing that I love, put your hands up, make ‘em touch.” Something about being a kunst or the kunst being her (nice subtle c-bombing) and the transformative power of art(pop). LGG’s diva-tude is on show as she beckons her adoring fans to scream and shout (and let it all out) and lose themselves in the music. ‘Applause’ is destined to be a 2013 club anthem. Whether or not that translates to long-running chart smash remains to be seen .What I’ve found is the track gets more enjoyable with each listen, so if you like it, you’ll probably be liking it for a long time to come.


At the end of the day, the status quo for these two superstars hasn’t really changed all that much. Which isn’t such a bad thing at all. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have released tracks that can and will be enjoyed by music fans all over the world. Business as usual, right? Sort of. Neither track is better than the other (despite the poorly constructed media ‘feud’ and YouTube commenting war between the stupidly named Katy Cats and Little Monsters) and neither track is better than ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Poker Face’, ‘Teenage Dream’ or ‘I Kissed A Girl’. ‘Roar’ and ‘Applause’ are just ‘good’ pop songs. And I love pop music.


Matt Bond gives 'Roar' and 'Applause' three Britney heads out of five...


NEW MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK:




Baby I Am Nobody Now
by Andy Bull (single out now)




Andy Bull’s new film clip emulates the trailer for a would be upcoming film. “Baby I Am Nobody Now” uses screen type, cast credits, award nominations, dramatic pans, pensive closeups and tagline quotes to create a mock up of a new release film. There is even a few cameos. And of course our leading man and protagonist (clearly a man on the edge) is Mr Bull.


We open on a pan of horrified onlookers as they take in the aftermath of an apparent accident with spilt blood and a female's legs with a shopping trolley and its contents over turned on the ground in a car park. The trolley is featured a few more times throughout the clip and suggests that the ficticious film ends in the tragedy of Bull’s apparent object of affection. Did he kill her? Is Bull’s love in fact really the owner of the legs? We have several quotes tell us what the “reviewers” thought of the film such as “A compelling story about ambition and failure” and “Thoughtful and thought provoking”. My favourite though is the tagline: “The space between what we have and what we want”. I am always amused at the way film makers try to hook us in with these ambiguous lines.


This clip and its intention to look like a trailer is done extremely well. Although (like any trailer) it asks a lot of questions which leave the viewers to put the threads together themselves it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Perhaps like me you will have a laugh at the contrived nature of the vehicle of movie trailers and enjoy the experimentation that Bull takes out to dinner with this clip.


And if the clip doesn’t appeal to everyone, the song itself is a hypnotic synth heavy rhythmic track with a slick chorus that hooks itself like an ear worm. Bull’s voice shines here - his soft yet always pitch perfect sound has such a delightful throwback sound to it that reminds me at times of Stevie Wonder with it’s smoothness and Motown feel. 


Lou Endicott gives the video for 'Baby I Am Nobody Now' four Shirley Manson heads out of five... 

 

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