LIVE REVIEW. Middle Kids at Sebright Arms, London

Date: 15 May 2017
Venue: The Sebright Arms, East London
Genre: Indie-pop
Words and photography: Steph Baker

Lately, it seems that only once in a blue moon do you come across a band that not only pleasantly surprises you, but also manages to genuinely captivate a pub basement full of unsuspecting 9-to-5ers on a Monday evening. Tonight the Sebright Arms was graced with Middle Kids, the Sydney-based trio composed of Harry, drummer and bringer of all energy; Tim, the perpetually mysterious dude strumming in the corner, and the truly uplifting presence of front-woman Hannah. You know when you saunter into a gig not really knowing what to expect with a mate after work and then after hearing one chorus you realise you’re in exactly the right place, witnessing something really quite exciting? Yeah, that was what happened tonight.

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Many indie groups of late seem attached to the idea that in order to be the coolest kids around, you’ve got to strip back all personality from your live set, and look as angsty and misunderstood as possible. Sure, it’s a fine act for the first ten minutes, but it was refreshing to see a new band not give a shit about that and instead concentrate on making genuine connections being made with the crowd throughout their set. The authenticity in what they are doing and what they’re trying to achieve is clear. Recent hits such as ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Never Start’ nonchalantly tell their wise stories and bleed out bittersweet memories while also creating an infectious and simply fun vibe around the room. One song is all you need to both get out deeply-hidden frustration into the open, and also ready your care-free self to get pleasantly drunk on a Summer’s day – I reckon that’s the idea anyway.

And then we have tracks such as ‘Old River’ and ‘Your Love’, touching on more emotive confessions and melancholy moments. Middle Kids manage to seamlessly transport you from delicate moments of contemplation into dizzy whirlwinds of power and pounding guitar riffs, without blinking an eye. It’s no wonder that music royalty, Sir Elton John has passed on his seal of approval to this group ahead of their debut album – which the crowd were understandably excited to hear about. We also got to witness Hannah perform a solo track, which showcased her powerhouse vocal range and ability to fill the room with only one instrument and a set of very raw lyrics.

The final few songs of tonight, which included the new track ‘Mistake’ brought the crowd a stirring mix of easy-going folk-pop and spontaneous melodic madness. With a taste of what’s to come with the debut album, this Aussie trio is surely one to watch and definitely one to seek out live, whether it’s around Europe, or Down Under.

 


Check out the debut EP here and give them some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Baker out.

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCING. Cameron Avery with debut album review – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray

With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.

That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.

This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.

“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.

The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.

A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”

There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.

However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.

As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.

Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.

Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.

 


Listen to the highly anticipated debut album from Cameron Avery here
Also make sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

S.M.

 

INTERVIEW. Talking Tunes, Knitting, and Ray Romano: Getting to know Vertigo

Knitting and Ray Romano may not seem like central parts of the typical band, but the lads that make up Vertigo are not typical. They may not be a household name yet, but they are definitely on track to being so. In less than a year of performing together Vertigo have become a mainstay of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley precinct, known to pull large crowds on days when everywhere else seems to be dead.

Through this live exposure Vertigo managed to broker a deal with The A&R Department, known for their work with Harts, Meg Mac and SAFIA, and ultimately grab some studio time at Airlock Studios to record a few tracks for their upcoming EP ‘No Feeling is Final’.

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We had a chance to sit down with singer Hamish, and guitarist James, to talk all things Vertigo. The lads, who met at high school, with the exception of bassist Hugh, have recently released their lead single ‘Get Away’. The track begins with an energetic guitar riff, joined by rapturous bass and the powerful drums of Nelson, before settling down into the bass driven verse of the song. The vocals of Hamish fit exquisitely amongst the distinctly heavy instrumentals of this tune, which is akin to ‘The Hunter’ by Slaves with markedly better vocals.

The lyrics of the track, written collectively by the boys, are quite poignant, pleading a friend to leave a corrosive relationship. Despite the subject matter of the song, Hamish told us that while the realism of the song makes it appear to be based in personal experience, it was not. James then said “We were writing it like it was a pretty generic human experience.”

Get Away’ was one of the first tracks the lads wrote when they were first starting out, back in March 2015.  As Hamish quipped, “Our writing has definitely matured a lot since then”.  They credit this maturity to having performed live.  According to James “they were writing really elaborate, debatably self-indulgent music” prior to performing live. The experience of gigging on a stage has taught the boys how to work a crowd, using the reception of each song to adapt their set list.

The lads opened up about playing a private gig at a 50th, and how they managed to cater to that very different audience. “We played a 50th the other week… for this big country family. So we were like ‘we should probably learn some Johnny Cash. So we learnt ‘Ring of Fire’. When we were learning we were like what the fuck are we doing. What has Vertigo become. But then we whipped it out live and the crowd went wild… We played it twice and it went off even bigger the second time.”

Johnny Cash may never be heard again, at least not from these blokes, but it highlights the emphasis that Vertigo have put on performing live and creating a great show for their fans.

Vertigo not only care deeply for performing, and for their fans, but they also have a deep bond amongst themselves. Hamish highlighted this when he said “It’s like being in a relationship with three guys.”

ray-romano-covered-with-silly-string_pn016918The boys clearly get along.  My afternoon of sitting with Vertigo was filled with laughter and jokes, often at the expense of themselves and their hobbies. Hugh spent the weekend they recorded ‘Get Away’ learning how to knit, since he had recorded the bass early and had time to kill. Or at the expense of those surrounding them. Prior to their first gig at Rics, James’ Mum ignited the bands light obsession with Ray Romano, often referring to the Brisbane venue as Ray’s. This collective joy of their creative process bodes extremely well for future performances and for their upcoming EP ‘No Feeling is Final’. They are definitely a band to watch in the future thanks to their collective drive to make great music, and have a good time while they do it.


They will be playing at The Brightside’s Homegrown Battle of the Bands in Brisbane on March 15th and at Blackbear Lodge of April 23rd.

Keep an eye out for their upcoming single ‘Velvet Revolution’, and their EP ‘No Feeling is Final’, both coming out later this year. You can also keep up to date with all things Vertigo here

 

S.M.

 

INTRODUCING. The Seefelds with debut EP Temple

Release date: Out Now!

Genre: Indie Rock

Rating: ★★★★

Words: Scott Murray

 

The Seefelds have slowly immersed themselves in Brisbane’s bustling live music scene, playing gigs all over Brissy throughout 2016, culminating with the release of their debut EP “Temple” at the Empire Hotel in late November.

The public got the first taste of the EP when the lads released their lead single, and title track, ‘Temple’ onto Triple J Unearthed in early October. This slow jam opens with a quiet, cut-back riff by guitarist Alex Lim before building to resounding heights thanks to the crooning vocals of Nick Boxall. The Brissy four piece then gave us the rest of Temple, an absolute cracker that highlights the genre hopping range of the group. The EP kicks off with ‘Tell Me (That You Want It)’, another tune similar in tempo to ‘Temple’.  However, this tune takes the time to concentrate on the instrumentals of the band, with drummer Lachie Atkinson, bassist Josh Bartlett and Lim providing an intriguing and striking contrast to Boxall’s slow croon.

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The EP then moves onto the fast paced ‘Curiosity & Boredom’, a deceiving track that begins with light relaxing guitar before building into a drum driven bustle that lifts the pace of the entire record. Following on from the title track, the lads build on the slow, drawn back vibes of Temple in ‘Cradle’. This track is just full of soul, and again highlights the intertwining voices of Boxall and Lim in a manner reminiscent of the DMA’s ‘Delete’.

The EP ends on its seemingly most zealous track, ‘Fly Away’ kicks off with driving guitar riffs and a bustling drum line showcasing the more upbeat tendencies of The Seefelds . However, as the song draws the EP to a close, Boxall utters “I need to slow down and find myself again” and suddenly the pace shifts. The lads like to keep listeners on their toes through tonal juxtapositions like this, making them refreshingly unpredictable. In fact, this track manages to encompass what The Seefelds are all about: delivering relaxing contemplative tunes for when you need to slow down, whilst also providing energetic party jams.

Overall, the self-described “Brisbane boys making mediocre music” have stepped far beyond that with their debut EP, creating a fantastic introduction that is undoubtedly a sign of bigger things to come.


You can catch The Seefelds on Facebook and Instagram and listen to ‘Templehere.

You can see the lads perform on the 22 December at the Zoo, Brisbane.

S.M.