Monday, 7 October 2013

New Music Monday #72

The Ghosts You Never Catch EP
by Eliza Hull (out now)

Dreamy. Atmospheric. Mesmerising. Ambient. Calming. They're all words you'll hear to describe Eliza Hull's sophomore EP The Ghosts You Never Catch. They're all pleasant words and they're all accurate, but what they don't describe is the slow motion punch in the stomach that you experience and the slight sense of beautiful uneasiness at the end of the seven tracks, which just makes you crave more of this Melbourne songstress.

'Head Above Water' is a good place to start, the minimalist sounds are very familiar and while it's easy to immediately make comparisons to artists like The xx, this EP takes you on a bigger journey than that, through a whole range of emotions. The single 'Echoes' released earlier this year, is still just as powerful now as the first time I heard it, the subtle driving beats of Dylan Hill's pushing Eliza's restrained vocal along.

'Christopher' is a tale of heartbreak and I can't help but feel a little confused and somehow comforted at the chorus "I'll be there for you Christopher..." Eliza's voice convincing enough to make me wonder who Christopher is and why has he got you wrapped around his little finger, Eliza? I guess he's one of those ghosts she's referring to in the title, but before I get too caught up in Christopher's ghost I'm taken to a whole other tale in 'Skin', the lyrics "fear is a killer" standing out against the accelerating beats which keep me listening, wondering where Eliza will take us next.

Where she takes us is through 'Northern Lights' and onto probably my favourite track, 'Ready For The Fall'. "Did you say you were ready for the fall, if it’s true we could start again," she sings over and over and this is the magic of music sometimes, I'm not sure how, with the help of producer Hayden Calnin, they created such a sense of desperation in the rich, layered sounds but it's almost hypnotising, and this is the track I've found myself playing on repeat since first listen.

Almost half an hour later, we're left with 'Ghosts' and all of the words I used at the start are true, but they don't quite describe the experience of having an EP wash over you, they don't describe the sense of being taken somewhere by a voice that manages to hold you at arm’s length while still comforting you. Those words don't describe the awesome storyteller Eliza Hull is and they don't describe the journey an EP like The Ghosts You Never Catch takes you on, because sometimes you need to press play and be taken on that journey yourself.  

Jo Michelmore gives The Ghosts You Never Catch EP four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...

Dreams are Just Movies EP - Track-by-Track
by Rosie Catalano (out now)

“Dreams are just movies, To entertain the ghosts.”

The first strains of Rosie Catalano’s voice singing unaccompanied on her EP Dreams are Just Movies invited the movie reel of my own imagination to fancy myself standing on some windswept rocky outcrop overlooking a moody ocean. Perhaps in Ireland. Or Scotland. Wherever it was, the scene was whimsical, dramatic and filtered with a dream like colour palette. The first track 'Hearts' is a gentle lead in to this EP. Soft vocals provided by Rosie combined with male harmonies turn over like little waves crashing into a rock pool. This first track - with the addition of violins to the delicate rolling guitar strumming - has the effect of a sweet lullaby.

The title track is second on the EP. Although this song is simple in its structure and melody, the beautiful mix of Rosie’s voice against an almost haunted backing choir and a finger picked guitar produce an eery ghostlike feel. I don’t like horror films. And I am not a fan of being scared. But I love to entertain the spooky. The magical, the unknown and the eerily beautiful. I was reminded of one of my favourite films The Nightmare Before Christmas and 'Sally's Song' sung by the ghostly Sally. Rosie has a similar quality to her voice. Something that should you hear on the wind, you might get goosebumps. Her voice is breathy, sometimes almost child like (but never childish) and carries a hint of another world. The lyrics in this song might easily be missed against the soothing melody of the song. But this EP (much to my delight) comes with lyrics. Lyrically this song has some cheeky revelations. Being a vivid dreamer myself I was highly amused with the subject of dreams revolving around absurdities and inner desires such as dreaming of Elvis. And pornos. Yes. Pornos. I've never heard anyone sing that word before. Or say it so sweetly.

The next track on the EP is a slightly uptempo song called 'Our Town'. Rosie sings about an old town. Perhaps it is a small village that threatens extinction in the hustle bustle of a modern world. Perhaps it is the last of all towns and the last of all humans. Perhaps humans are at the end of all they have and all they have is their resolve to survive as a species. Perhaps I have been reading too many post apocalyptic novels of late. Probably the latter (I’m a little addicted to them). But I love that this song creates a voice of a people - maybe even a people too influenced by the notions of other people. A truly intriguing song that I know I will listen to again.

This song brings the EP to a faery tale like dream. Images of gingerbread houses, deep woods, bread crumb trails and witches to avoid penetrate the ear with an almost mantra like sound. I really like this track. It’s dreamy and visual and oh so soothing with the lyrics and melody looping over itself like a faery tale mantra. I personally love the idea of tales we were told as children resonating in some way as we grow. Even if just in the musings of our imagination and the images that still feature in our dreams.

This entire track in fact is Catalano’s voice singing unaccompanied. This is a bold choice to have mid record. But then again, at this stage of listening to the EP a theme is definitely growing. And it is perfectly fitting given the nature of this EP. The dream like nature of all these songs is echoed here through the soft and lilting voice trying to escape a nightmarish monster that lives inside the protagonist's head. It trails off with a “fa la la” like a story book heroine pushing on into the dark woods bravely regardless of what perils may await.

This song carries the theme of love and obsession. It’s at first simple and sweet. “I want you for supper, I want you for tea...” But then we are taken a little further “Or I will stitch you up, pour you out and you’ll never be free”. The stuff of a stalker's dream. And an interesting character point of view to throw into the mix - particularly after the last song. Sweetly dark.

This final track of the EP follows through with the themes and the mood created throughout the EP. Perhaps an awakening from a dream or a dream that is hard to awake from. The lyrics are ambiguous and have that playground-like chant feel to once again add to the delightful spooky and dreamlike ambiance created.

All in all I must say that I really enjoyed listening to this EP and interpreting the lyrics (again, I love it when artists freely give their words to listeners). And I must say (as a lover of all things visual) that the photographic art to accompany this album is perfect. It encompasses the surreal like nature of the sound with an almost Alice through the looking glass twist. This EP is a beautiful late night listen. Have a wine (or a cup of floral tea), turn the lights down low, settle in with appreciative friends (or that special someone) and set the pre dream mood with a deep sigh of letting the day go. It will probably soundtrack your dreams later.

Lou Endicott gives the Dreams are Just Movies EP four Beatle heads out of five...

Heart Slice EP
by Go Violets

Brisbane’s next great music export, Go Violets released their debut EP on Friday and (to the shock of no one who has fallen for their fantastic 2013 singles, ‘Josie’ and ‘Wanted’) it’s pretty gosh darn great. Phoebe, Alice, Harriette and Ruby’s Heart Slice blends the sound of 90s post-grunge and 60s surf rock into music that’s just too effortlessly cool for school. I don’t know what’s making me write like this, but it could be the retro-romp ‘Crazy’. It’s the oldest story in the book - girl meets boy at Laundromat, boy puts the powder in first, girl is crazy about him now, girl meets boy in park on a Saturday, boy doesn’t sleep much, boy never comes home, girl still crazy about him now. While it’s certainly not the deepest material, the music and vocal work sells it beautifully.

‘Beside Me’ is my personal favourite of the new tracks. “Make it or break it, you know it’s all up to you now.” The guitar work from Phoebe and Alice is very, very nice. Can you have dreamy guitars? The guitars on ‘Beside Me’ are dreamy, so you can have dreamy guitars. ‘Josie’ and ‘Wanted’, the previously mentioned fantastic singles, really are two of the best tracks released this year. ‘Josie’ might even be the best song released this year. Like ‘Crazy’ it’s not lyrically deep, but it’s catchy as anything and there’s something vibrant and energetic about this just over two and a half minute song that makes me want to play it over and over and over and over again. And again. Look, just do yourself a favour and jump on board with Go Violets now. They’re only going to get bigger and better from here on out. Here’s hoping we get to hear the debut full length sooner than later.

Matt Bond give the Heart Slice EP three and a half Ellie Goulding heads out of five...

Leavn It All Behind
by Harts (single out November 11, 2013)

Yeeeaaaaaahhh, let the nu-disco good times roll with Melbourne's Harts! 'Leavn It All Behind' makes you want to throw on some pimpin' duds, grab your roller skates, head on down to the discotheque and party like it's 1979. Don't worry, it's not even a little bit tragic. There's some funkified guitar solos that are just a little bit drool worthy and some vocal work by Darren Hart that will leave you believing the second coming of Prince has arrived (right down to the little 'uh' grunt at the start - yeah, I heard you!). The fact that Harts does everything; the writing, performing, recording, producing and so on and so forth just makes you love it all the more and the respect levels right now are out of this world. This is modern electronic-indie rock-new disco goodness with just the right amount of old school charm. Keep your eyes on this one. 

Matt Bond gives 'Leavn It All Behind' five Kanye heads out of five... 


Shot At The Night
by The Killers
Greatest Hits Album: Direct Hits (November 11, 2013)

I've always had a soft spot for clips from The Killers, so it came as no surprise that I kinda loved the video for 'Shot At The Night'. It stars Bella Heathcote (from Dark Shadows - took me forever to figure that out) as a Las Vegas hotel cleaner who ditches work to spend the night gambling and singing karaoke with a guy in a blue suit in this modern day Cinderella-ish story. Oh, to be young again. What? 'Shot At The Night' sticks to The Killers' winning formula. Sure, Brandon Flowers isn't twerkin' it up with strippers or singing in a pool filled with CGI sharks or riding a wrecking ball naked or doing whatever it is Bieber does in his clips (does anybody know?), but The Killers have their formula and it works for them. No need to fix that which ain't broke. Or something.

Matt Bond gives the video for 'Shot At The Night' three Karen O heads out of five...

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