Angus & Julia Stone – Heart Beats Slow

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They’re back! In a time where sibling music acts are on the rise, Angus & Julia Stone bring us their first new music together since their album, Down the Way, back in 2010. Huge fans of their music, we at art felicis are ecstatic that they’ve made their return and are anxiously awaiting the release of their upcoming, self-titled third album, due in August this year.

The reveal of their upcoming album comes completely unexpectedly. They said in an interview on triple j that producer, Rick Rubin, heard their music at a friend’s party and decided that he wanted to work with them. If you don’t know who Rick Rubin is, he founded the Def Jam record label and has worked with a long list of famous acts including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, AC/DC, Eminem, and many, many more. Apparently, they had no intention of getting back together so, if it was going to take one of the all-time great producers to change their minds, we’re glad Rubin really liked their music.

This new single, “Heart Beats Slow”, brings something different to what we love about the siblings from Sydney. The tune combines the duo’s well-known folk vibe and lyrics with an RnB groove, possibly inspired Rubin. Neither sibling dominates this song vocally. Rather, they collaborate flawlessly with a combination of back-and-forth and beautiful harmony. It’s instantly recognisable as an Angus & Julia Stone hit but it’s refreshingly different. Listening to this new tune is the perfect way to warm yourself up for winter.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Upcoming album: Angus & Julia Stone, to be released 1 August 2014

Sounds like: Angus Stone, Julia Stone

Say what? In their recent interview on triple j, Angus Stone revealed that he is living in a circus tent. Apparently he’s “done it up really beautiful”, according to Julia, and it even has a landline. This is pretty much the definition of “say what?”

Huggett out.

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Broods – Bridges {L D R U Remix}

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Last year, New Zealand siblings Broods released their first single, “Bridges”. The hit gave the duo plenty of recognition, coming in at number 131 in triple j’s Hottest 100, and sparked what we at art felicis hope will be a fruitful music career. Earlier this year, they released their self-titled debut EP and have since performed sold out shows in the US and Europe. They’ll be in Australia soon enough, playing sold-out shows in Melbourne and Sydney in a couple of weeks, and then again for Splendour and sideshows.

As good as the original is, Sydney producer L D R U’s remix may just have made it better. The almost Amazonian percussion leads into the soft vocals that helped make “Bridges” the hit it is. The two blend perfectly before leading into the chorus, underlined with vibrant synthy sounds. It builds towards a kinda swooping synth that deviates from the original, more towards a typical electronic sound, then slows peacefully back into the dreamy Broods vocals. L D R U has given us everything you could want in a remix; it’s a unique twist on a popular song that strays enough to make it his own but keeps what made the original so great.

Before this release, L D R U said he wasn’t going to be releasing any more remixes. We’re happy he lied and, if he can keep bringing us hits like this, we hope there are more to come.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Broods – Auckland, New Zealand. L D R U – Manly, Australia.
Latest EP: Broods, released 31 January 2014. Nothing for L D R U.
Sounds like: An electronic version of Broods…? Maybe a touch of Dillon Francis/DJ Snake’s “Get Low” in there too.
Say what? In an interview with Noisey, a question about the emergence of family acts HAIM, Disclosure, and Broods led Georgia from Broods to drop that all three acts have the same lawyer. “He’s becoming a family band lawyer just on accident.”

Huggett out.

Porter Robinson – Sad Machine

If you’re a fan of electronic music, you’re probably no stranger to Porter Robinson. Hailing from a small town in North Carolina, Robinson has been making the rounds over the past few years at festivals like Coachella, Future and Ultra. No mean feat, considering he’s only 21.

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Take, for example, his latest song release, which has only been out a few days but has already racked up over 30,000 likes on soundcloud. The single, strangely titled “Sad Machine”, is a moving mixture of melody and electronic riffs.

Go on, have a listen and see what all the fuss is about. And keep your eyes peeled for his highly anticipated debut album coming out this year…

THE BREAKDOWN:
Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US.
Upcoming album: Worlds, to be released 12 August 2014.
Sounds like: Passion Pit.
Say what? Robinson was self-taught, began producing music at age 12, and was a household name by age 18.

With sweet summer kisses from Cath

Northeast Party House – Any Given Weekend

Melbourne band Northeast Party House‘s debut album Any Given Weekend comes out today through Stop Start Music and they’ll be touring Australia throughout July in honour of it.

Pleasing both dance fans and indie rock enthusiasts, this album is all about the dark melodies, catchy hooks and driving guitar. The sounds of the humble cowbell also finds its way woven seamlessly into a few tracks. We’ve written about “The Haunted” before, but other standout songs include title track “Any Given Weekend”, as well as “Fake Friends” and “Sick Boy”.

All of these tunes lend themselves to a live setting probably even more so than just listening to them at home. Luckily! You can catch the guys themselves on the following dates:

Thu 19 Jun – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Fri 20 Jun – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Sat 21 Jun – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Wed 25 Jun – Beach Road Hotel, Bondi, NSW
Thu 26 Jun – Rad, Wollongong, NSW
Fri 27 Jun – Transit Bar, Canberra, ACT
Sat 28 Jun – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Sun 29 Jun – The Lair, Sydney, NSW *All Ages
Wed 02 Jul – Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW
Thu 03 Jul – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane, QLD
Fri 04 Jul – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Sat 05 Jul – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD

We managed to hit the busy band up with some questions.

AF: How did Northeast Party House begin? 

NPH: The band began with Jack, Zach and myself. Jack and I have played in bands together since we were quite young. At the time we were just listening to the music that our parents were listening to, so we were playing a lot of jazz and funk. However once we graduated and got our license we would drive around listing to the radio, namely triple j and 3RRR and we became heavily influenced by what we were hearing, mostly indie bands out of the UK and new local electro stuff like The Presets and Empire Of The Sun. The radio made us realise there were more current genres of music out there that were speaking to (and for) our generation. I think at that point we realised that was something that was really important for us, to be a band that speaks to our friends, and our generation. Jack and I were terrible singers though, so one day we had Zach come over for a jam and a few hours later we’d written Dusk, and Northeast Party House was born. 

AF: You’re often compared to Bloc Party – what other international artists influence you? 

NPH: Our comparison to Bloc Party is fair i guess, but given we have ‘Party’ in our name, have a black front man and our music occasionally crosses over the genre of Bloc Party’s, it seems like more of a lazy comparison to us than a truly musically informed one. Zach definitely has a similar timbre in his voice, that same powerful, open vocal sound that Kele has but Bloc Party have never been a major influence of ours. Our influences come from extremely varied sources now, I personally listen to a lot of progressive house music and techno, Jack and Mitch love their distorted, guitar driven 90s rock, Malcolm loves a balanced mix of Sabbath and Katie Perry, Zach listens to a lot of Hip Hop and RnB and LCD Soundsystem always gets a good spin in the tour van. Having said that, we all cross over and enjoy listening to all kinds of music, I think NPH is our way of meeting in the middle. 

AF: Here at art felicis we relate to your song “Youth Allowance” a little too closely. Are you guys committing to music full-time these days, or are you studying/working as well? 

NPH: I think the concept of ‘committing to music full-time’ in a financial sense has completely gone out the window. To be a successful band today it not only requires full commitment but also a great deal of good fortune and good timing. The band is everyone’s first priority and some of us are lucky enough to be able to juggle our weekly schedule of work or study so that we can spend a lot of our time playing music, but that’s really all one can do. Keep working at your craft and being creative as much as you can, the rest is out of your control. When it comes to Youth Allowance and government payments none of us are on them now, which is nice.

AF: Apart from early 20s financial struggles, what other themes do you draw inspiration from when you write music? 

NPH: Themes of all sorts. There’s an enormous amount of information to absorb and consider in one’s early twenties, I think life’s lessons start leaving bigger bruises. All of us write for the band so the content varies greatly between experiences from person to person. The lyrics on the album, although they may not seem it often stem from pretty broken life experiences. Like being burned by an ex, feeling hopelessness, feeling powerless… then there’s also songs on there which are just intended to make you want to have a good time and dance it all off. We tried to inject as much fun and silliness into the album to balance out the more serious moments.

AF: What’s your favourite song off Any Given Weekend and why? 

NPH: My favourite song is Fake Friends. It’s so much fun to play live. We’ve been rehearsing for our upcoming tour the last month and every time we play this song it puts a smile on all our faces. Also, I get to just hit a cowbell and play these crazy synthesiser sounds the whole song and you can’t really beat that. 

AF: What can Northeast Party House fans expect from your upcoming Any Given Weekend Tour?

NPH: We’re planning on playing the whole album plus a few old ones. It’ll be a long, satisfying set of dancing, sweating and loud noise coming from our direction. NPH gigs have barely changed since the beginning of the band, and our fans are some of the most passionate around, they’ll cause a ruckus I’m sure. 

AF: Where’s your favourite place to gig? 

NPH: Last time we toured it was with The Jungle Giants. We played a sold out Metro Theatre in Sydney with them and it was amazing. The younger crowds there are awesome and they respond so positively to the music. The atmosphere in the room was pretty hard to beat. Having said that, our first ever headline gig in 2010 at The Blue Tile Lounge on Smith Street in Melbourne was a pretty hard gig to top.

AF: We love Melbourne artists! Who are some of your favourite local acts?

NPH: Some of our fav bands to see in Melbourne would be City Calm Down, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, Drunk Mums and The Mary Goldsmiths.

AF: Say what? 

NPH: The Word ‘Northeast’ in Northeast Party House doesn’t refer to a direction, it’s actually the surname of their mate Sam Northeast, who threw a massive two week long party at his house in high school whilst his mum was away.

Exclusively and pretentiously handpicked just for you, by Jane

Eagle and the Worm – Automatic

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Seven-piece, Melbourne outfit Eagle and the Worm have leapt back into the game with “Automatic”; a song that, as a standalone, creates a new mountain in the landscape of Australian music. Defying genres and pushing sonic boundaries, this is a song that you listen to and find yourself pleased with the innovative efforts of these musicians.

Beginning with a break beat and strong horn melody, “Automatic” starts strong with the instruments pulling back only to further highlight a true force of this band: the gritty and unique vocal styling of Jarrad Brown. The lyrics of the song seem to flow effortlessly from Brown’s head…like an automatic train of thought. Every component of this track just fits; it’s pure genius really.

The complex bass line, the reverbed guitars and the further experimentation of these instruments through pedal effects displays that the devil is in the detail. With so many sounds and so many echoes, Eagle and the Worm successfully stomp through an experimental pathway that so many bands try to take but get it wrong.

Punching in at a healthy 2 minutes and 54 seconds, “Automatic” indicates a growth for the band and the anticipation of what we can expect Eagle and the Worm to bring to the table with their sophomore album (due for release this year).

Do yourself a favour and educate yourself with Eagle and the Worm – a true breath of fresh air to the Australian music scene.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Upcoming album: Due for release in late 2014
Sounds like: Straight Arrows, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Mariachi El Bronx
Say What? Their song “All I Know” appeared in an episode of HBO’s Bored to Death

Paws and pineapples, Cat

Sia – Chandelier

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Sia’s recent release of her new music video, featuring the talented 11 year old dancer Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms, hit over 1 million views in less than 24 hours. A mere week has gone by and the video has collected more than 7 million views. This passionate Aussie singer and songwriter has a downtempo style, fusing alternative pop and soulful jazz together to create an interesting blend. It’s not surprising Sia has gained the ultimate spotlight for her latest single, “Chandelier”. However, fans were surprised by Sia’s move in transferring the spotlight onto the young and talented dancer, Maddie Ziegler.

The music video has been well received, as its simplicity reveals the true and haunting beauty of child-like innocence. Slow tracking shots of bare empty rooms in an apartment are shown to be dimly lit by gentle streams of sunlight. Maddie immediately draws light into the dark space, with her platinum blonde wig shining brightly, imitating Sia’s signature hairstyle. A bold statement of innocence in its most natural form is accomplished through a daring nude leotard. It’s as if everything is stripped back and we are left with Maddie dancing her heart out to Sia’s vocals which heavily embrace the notion of carpe diem. Her free spirited cartwheels, spins and jumps produce a strange affect on the audience, as we feel as if we have stumbled across something beautifully rare and private. The final scene is of Maddie breathing heavily from finishing her dance with a zoom out and fade to black, leaving us overwhelmed.

Sia has already achieved international success, yet through her recent release of her breathtaking video and upcoming sixth album named 1000 Forms of Fear (to be released June 2014) we can see she still has a big future ahead of her.

Song: co-written by Sia and Jesse Shatkin, produced by Greg Kurstin
Video: directed by Sia and Daniel Askil, choreographed by Ryan Heffington

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Adelaide, South Australia.
Latest single: “Chandelier”, released 17 March 2014
Sounds like: Frou Frou, Imogen Heap, Björk, Jem
Say what? Sia discovered her voice in a karaoke bar, whilst on a university gap year in Italy.

Je suis la imaginer, Imogen.

TEEN – The Way and Color

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Brooklyn art pop darlings, TEEN, have dropped their much awaited sophomore LP, The Way and Color. Recorded in upstate New York over a ten day recording binge, the ten track homage to harmonic synth delight is almost impossible to categorise. Likening them to simply one genre or artist is problematic based on their erratic tempo and aural versatility throughout the album’s entirety.

In many ways it’s a patchwork piece combining their typical spaced out ethereal waves with a confusing mix of electronic tension and bizarre R&B influence. The LP opens with an endearing 90s-esque electronic anthem in “Rose 4 U” which ensnares you with its catchy fast paced rhythm, but slowly loses hold as the length of the track extends and exhausts itself. This seems to be a common theme throughout, as many tracks begin boldly, but are so saturated with ideas that single tracks sometimes seem like several sound bites mashed together chaotically. The sinister midsection of “Breathe Low & Deep” promotes a strange anxiety within the listener, resonant also in “Sticky” which kind of felt like being stuck on an acid trip at a carnival.

The shifting vocals of Teeny Lieberson (the band’s namesake and one of the three Lieberson sisters who make up three quarters of TEEN the band) is versatile, but wears thin in some tracks. Bleeding hearts reign supreme on this record with “More Than I Ask For” telling tales of loveless lovemaking and “Not For Long” tearing through your soul with its cynical focus on greedy, lust-fueled relations. Essentially, the album is a dreamscape, psych soaked ode to the angst that comes with youthful fuckery. A brave exploration into new territory for TEEN which doesn’t exactly “not work” but suffers from an existential identity crisis, nonetheless. Worth a listen for those seeking aural experimentation and a weirdly wonderful new sound.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Latest LP: The Way and Color, released 22 April, 2014.
Sounds like: Tame Impala and Kate Bush‘s love child
Say What? Hailing from opera stock (composer daddy and mezzo soprano stepmum), the three Lieberson sisters used to perform tunes from popular musicals (Oklahoma; a favourite) for dinner party guests and family members at home in Nova Scotia.

Love, hugs and other drugs, LB

Cut Copy Australian Tour 2014

It’s been a long three years since Melbourne band Cut Copy have returned to play on home soil for their devoted fans. The much loved synth pop band have been busy touring the globe, playing in festivals and venues in US, Europe, and Asia. Although those lucky enough could have caught them during their brief stint while they were back in Australia for Future Music Festival, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the band do a headline tour of it’s own here. Fresh from playing a run of dates in Europe, they flew over to Australia to play a quick three dates to celebrate their latest album Free Your Mind, before jetsetting back to play in Canada, Spain, and the US.

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It was a packed home crowd at Billboards – front man Dan Whitford acknowledging to the crowd they’d been away for a while, but that it’s nice to be home to play in front of their best friends and long time fans. Theirs was a set that had a pleasing mix of old and new hits, starting out with “We Are Explorers” and “Take Me Over” to celebrate Free Your Mind. Of course, old time favourites like “Hearts On Fire” really got the crowd going. There was a strong energy to the set, with some dancing around on stage and the band playing live instruments. It was a visual and aural feast, with our eyes bombarded with bright lights just as our ears were with their lush synth sounds.

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After “Meet Me in the House of Love”, the band left the stage earlier than expected. The crowd there wasn’t ready to let them go just yet, bringing the band back on stage for not one, but two encore songs. “Lights and Music” were accompanied with just that, and the crowd gave the band a big farewell with this song and their last, “Need You Now”. The welcome home ended with lead singer reaching out to the crowd, shaking hands with the front row.

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The major downside? That they were only back home for a short 3 day tour, and will soon be heading back overseas to spread more of those electro pop good times.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia.
Latest EP: Free Your Mind released November 2013
Sounds like: Holy Ghost, Miami Horror
Say what? There’s a spoken monologue weaved throughout the background of Free Your Mind. Listen to the whole album to hear it!

THE WEEKENDER

$20,000 in Spotify Royalties

A small indie band named Vulfpeck have very cleverly outsmarted Spotify’s average of $0.0006 to $US0.0084 royalty per stream business model. The indie German-American rhythm section band from LA created an album of absolute silence Sleepify and asked their fans to continuously stream it as they slept. They managed to raise roughly $20,000 to fund a tour. You gotta hand it to them and their loyal fans. Spotify has since asked them to take the album down but I’m sure you won’t need a sample of what it sounded like.

Eurovision Song Contest

It’s Eurovision weekend! The competition finished up last night (SPOILER ALERT) and the winner is Conchita Wurst, an Austrian drag queen. How fantastic is that? Of course, this year was particularly interesting to Australians with Jessica Mauboy asked to perform during the interval as the first non-European nation. The 24-year old Darwinian began her career on Australian Idol and has been one of the most successful alumni from the reality show, having collaborated with big names in the past including Jay Sean, Flo Rida and Snoop Dogg.
The performance began with a fairly nauseating cliche skit complete with surfer boys, AFL and koalas, before Mauboy launched into her song “Sea of Flags”, but it ended satisfyingly with both the Australian and Aboriginal flags on show. You can catch the finals officially airing in Australia on Sunday night.

Arctic Monkeys on Like A Version

Arctic Monkeys are kicking up a storm in Australia at the moment with their AM album tour, and they also dropped into triple j to cover Tame Impala’s “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from their album Lonerism on Like A Version. This version is thoroughly stripped back and Alex Turner’s drawling Northern English accent is worth the watch.

The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams

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Returning from a two-year hiatus with a new line-up, The Hold Steady don’t mess around as they jump straight into their new album, Teeth Dreams with a crisp, kick-starting drum introduction that leads perfectly into the commanding vocals and lyrics that the band are primarily known for.

The album’s first track, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” sets the tone of the album with vocalist, Craig Finn, laying down an intense story of living in a desolated town that is full of fun memories but at the same time brings you down.

Taking obvious inspiration from Bruce Springsteen, Finn’s stories speak about the American dream as something that is only as dead as you want it to be, if you have the will to survive and get out alive.

Musically, the album displays the obvious talents of the band members as musicians in their own rights through the multi-layered guitar melodies and the employment of different drum patterns for each song, however, at times it feels as though the mixing of the album accentuates these just a little bit too much. This is particularly noticeable in the track “Spinners” where the volume of the guitars perhaps overrides what separates this band from other rock bands; the vocals and the lyrics.

Since banding in Brooklyn in 2004, The Hold Steady have grown from underground, dive bar rockers to acclaimed musicians whilst seeing through drug addiction, divorce and the end of friendships.

Teeth Dreams is assumingly the manifestation of these years, tracking the bad that comes with the good and the good that always makes its way in the end. We come to understand this through the fast-paced tracks of the album that culminate to the slow, resonating anthem “Oaks” at the album’s end.

A great comeback album and an indication of the good things that will shine through, Teeth Dreams is an example of what makes The Hold Steady continue to stand out in our current same-same music landscape; simple storytelling.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York.
Latest album: Teeth Dreams, released 18 February, 2014.
Sounds like: Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements, Grifters
Say what? These guys recorded a track for the TV show, Game of Thrones last year called “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

Paws and pineapples, Cat

Magic – Coldplay (Shaun Frank Club Cover)

Coldplay has returned to the spotlight with the upcoming release of their sixth studio album Ghost Stories. They have already released three singles from the album, “Magic”, “Midnight” and “A Sky Full of Stars”, giving us a tantalizing taste of what is to come.

In particular, “Magic”, which was released on March 3, has since gained rapid popularity. Some of this popularity may be due to the unexpectedly awesome video clip. The clip features Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (think Memoirs of a Geisha; and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and is well worth a watch.

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But let’s not get sidetracked. Because amidst the anticipation and high expectations, a number of remixes and covers of the singles have been released, including one from Torontonian Shaun Frank. The cover, which Frank describes as ‘Progressive House’, received over 200,000 listens in just over a week.

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At first, it sounds like your average electronic remix. However, it is indeed a cover, Frank having recorded 100% of the vocals and instrumentals. The cover comes as part of his “Club Covers” series. Be sure to check it out on soundcloud quickly as you might be able a free download.

THE BREAKDOWN:
Hometown: Toronto, Canada.
Upcoming album: Nothing on the horizon for Shaun Frank, but Coldplay’s upcoming Ghost Stories is set to be released 16 May.
Sounds like: Fedde Le Grand’s remix of Coldplay’s “Paradise”
Say what? Shaun Frank alleges that he was ‘rejected’ by his own mother on instagram.

With sweet summer kisses from Cath   

Big K.R.I.T. – Mt. Olympus

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Channelling his inner Zeus, Big K.R.I.T. lines up the entire rap game with god-like strength on his latest single release “Mt. Olympus”; the first song from his upcoming sophomore album Cadillactica.

After releasing a full studio album as well as four mixtapes to a rousing albeit underground reception, Krizzle is fed up with being told that his sound isn’t mainstream enough and is intent on getting his now, and I mean right now. Oh, and did I mention he did it all himself? Beat production, hook writing, verses and mastering, yeah he really do it all.

Krizzle begins by addressing the controversial “Control” verse from Kendrick Lamar – which mentioned K.R.I.T. by name– by referring to what he said when the song dropped last year: “he ain’t even really even diss me…”. Moving on from the pseudo-beef, Krizzle throws thunderbolts at hip hop and mainstream rappers; whose success is dependent on fans continually accepting the constant recycling of basic fallacies such as getting money and bitches. He lights up rappers jacking Southern drawl and slang and pretending they talk like that all the time, while calling out record labels for signing anybody young, willing and able to be transformed into a mainstream puppet.

Big K.R.I.T. snaps on this track and unabashedly leaves everything out there for all to hear, and hopes that all do hear it. Not for the sake of his exposure, but for the sake of rap and healing its arguably ailing state. And I didn’t even get to the production which is powerful in its own right. There is so much to this song that the only thing to do is give it a listen, but don’t try to absorb it all at once, kids, you might get burned.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Meridian, Mississippi.
Upcoming album: Cadillactica, dropping Spring 2014.
Sounds like: Pimp C, UGK, Scarface.
Say What? K.R.I.T. stands for King Remembered In Time.

Peace, Nick