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4 Reasons Gigs Should Always Be On An Island

The Wombats playing at the Channel V Island Party

On Wednesday, I headed to Channel V’s Island Party featuring one of my favourite angsty bands from high school – The Wombats (because let’s face it, who could ever resist their beautiful British accents). It was in every way a delightful experience, so I’ve prepared this list of four reasons why every gig should be on an island.

1. You feel like a VIP

First up, they gave us ALL lanyards. Lanyards. It’s pretty much a universal sign of exclusivity and self-importance, and to give everyone that experience at a gig where everyone got there just by winning tickets just makes everyone on board feel special. Plus they sent you onto the island on a little boat that you could only get onto…WITH A LANYARD.

The Wombats lanyards Channel V

 

2. It’s intimate as anything

For as much as I love gigs to death, I really can’t stand crowds. Maybe it’s just the Canberra girl in me, but I get sick of feeling sweaty bodies pushing against me in a mosh, and not being able to see anything (being short). But there’s only so many people you can fit on a floating pontoon in Sydney Harbour, which means less sweaty bodies and you actually feel like the band is performing to you rather than an infinite number of nameless people in the crowd.

3. The sound quality is better

There’s something about playing out into the open harbour to a small crowd that made everything sound less distorted, more fresh and clear. It was just music in its purest form and I really liked it.

4. The focus is all on the band

The reason everyone’s taken their little boat ride to this random little pontoon is for pretty much no other reason than to see the band and have a good time. And when The Wombats are serenading you with their greatest hits plus some new tunes to be released with their new flippin’ album in April, it’s pretty much impossible not to have a good time.

So the next time Channel V has an Island Party? You enter the competition dangnammit. Don’t miss The Wombats’ new album Glitterbug coming out April 26!

Also, check out “Greek Tragedy”, it’s a tune:

By Erin Rooney

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Song Of The Week: Anyway by Slum Sociable

slum-sociable

Slum Sociable are a duo from Mordialloc in Victoria with some serious sass. Their debut recording “Anyway” is at times electronic, bringing to mind the delicate sound of producers like Cashmere Cat, while at other times it oozes cool jazz undertones with a constantly moving hop beat. Give it a listen:

 

I personally love the tinny vocal sound in this track – it gives a neat sense of nostalgia while the production values modernise the feel.

It’s only fitting Slum Sociable should be joining the very smooth group Mansionair (who rocked Laneway) for two gigs at Newtown Social Club on March 8 and 9. Be there or be square-shaped, Sydney-siders.

By Erin Rooney

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Artists We Love: Meg Mac

Meg Mac Music

We hear a lot of big voices in pop music bathed in auto-tune, and a lot of catchy melodies, but it’s much more rarely that a vocalist comes out with something truly special to offer from their raw sound. Meg Mac does just that, boasting big, bluesy vocals, writing some iconic originals and making covers completely her own.

Her song “Roll Up Your Sleeves” has earned the most love so far with a #24 spot in the triple j’s Hottest 100 this year and we can see why: it really shows off the range of her voice and is passionate – a great car sing-a-long tune!

 

But as much as I love her original music, it’s the way she covers music that really impresses me. It makes you see the song from a new angle, and she’s got the voice to make anything her own. Take “Grandma’s Hands” for instance, a Bill Withers original about his grandma, written after she passed away. Meg Mac maintains the meaning of the song yet renews the whole rhythmic feel and adds a suspenseful build:

 

My other favourite is her take on “Bridges” by Broods, which she performs with her sister and band – again, she makes the song her own and it’s got a great groove to it, working on a build and using harmonies to add depth.

 

Meg Mac’s got such a great voice, and it’s instantly likeable, so I imagine she can only move onto bigger and better things from here!

 

By Erin Rooney

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5 Australian Bands That Rock

The Vanns Live At The Basement

I’m very intrigued by the fact that the Australian music scene has been pushing away from the rock genre over the past couple of years and moving towards electronic and indie rock music, because Australia has always been so fantastic at producing a raw, iconic, likeable rock sound. With bands like Powderfinger, Silverchair, Jet, Wolfmother and of course, AC/DC, it’s been a large part of our music tradition. But with even ex Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns transitioning to electronic music with his new single “Aerial Love“, there’s a sense that this tradition may be disintegrating.

So that’s why I’ve decided to put together a list of five current Australian musicians that are keeping rock alive. And they’re damn good at it.

1. Kingswood

I’m going to be honest, but this band was not even on my radar until I saw them at Falls Festival this year. Not only do they have the rare ability to work a crowd, but they have taken the rock genre and modernised it to suit today’s listeners. Their lyrics are also super fun to sing along to, which just makes everything better.

 

2. Dan Sultan

He’s technically an artist, not a band, but Dan Sultan is such a salt of the Earth kinda guy, you can practically hear the sincerity from the growling and raw tones of his voice, so deserves a place in this list. He’s definitely got a bluesy influence too, and a very nostalgic sound. His album Blackbird from last year is definitely worth a good listen.

 

3. Stonefield

The Findlay sisters have been influenced by the greats, and vocalist Amy Findlay was even lucky enough to feature in the Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin tribute concert series last year. The vocals are a large part of what makes Stonefield’s sound unique, and they are proof that female vocalists can achieve that raw rock sound.

 

4. The Delta Riggs

While certainly there are traces of psychedelic rock influence, these guys have a rock rhythm to them that there’s no messing around with. Their original stuff is great (check out Supersonic Casualties), but the real reason they’re on this list is because of their incredible triple j Like A Version performance of “Gooey” by Glass Animals. Check it on out:

 

5. The VANNs

These young guys are making waves with their ambling rock pace, which is given real strength by James Vann’s husky vocals. We featured them as Song of the Week for “Guilty Love” a while ago, and since then they have been playing shows around the east coast pretty much non-stop. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for them this year! Also fun fact: comedian Frenchy uses their music for his videos sometimes.

 

Do you guys have any favourite current Aussie rock bands? Let me know in the comments!

 

By Erin Rooney

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Song of the Week: M.O.B by Tkay Maidza

tkay-maidza

In addition to being one of our fave acts at Laneway, Tkay Maidza has really outdone herself on her new track, “M.O.B”, AKA ‘Money Over Bitches’. 

Featuring a future-esque DJ track provided by DJ Elk, and sounding much like Wave Racer, this song certainly brings a fun and playful beat into the mix. The lyrics are also perhaps a little cheekier than we’re used to from Tkay, representing her goals to her future self to work hard and prioritise real goals over dumb things. Give it a listen:

 

 

I for one am super excited to see how Tkay Maidza grows as a performer and a writer over the next couple of years. At just 18 years old, mark my words, she is one to watch! I will be sure to catch her next week at the Mountain Sounds Festival.

 

By Erin Rooney

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Best Moments of Sydney Laneway Festival

Laneway Festival Sydney

 

Happy Friday everyone! I have festival fever a bit at the moment, so couldn’t help but head along to Laneway Festival on the weekend and enjoy all the incredible acts it had to offer.

Besides being full of good-looking folk dressed in hipster attire, the bands were definitely a highlight – that and the food. Between Mary’s burgers and Messina gelato flavours designed specifically for the event, we were spoilt for choice.

But anyway, onto the musicians, who were amazing. Here are my top acts, with some definitely to watch:

1. Mansionair

I was very disappointed to find only two recordings by these very handsome (and talented) dudes online – but make no mistake, their set was one of the highlights of the day. Featuring beats nearly as dirty as Glass Animals’ and a vocalist definitely as silky smooth, they truly rocked their early and short set. I will certainly be heading along to one of their solo shows in the future. Check out this little ditty:

2. Tkay Maidza

While Tkay has come under some criticism for her releases thus far, I’ll bet the critics haven’t seen her live. At 18 years old she has a very youthful enthusiasm and vigour in her live performance style, and with the way she can amp up a crowd now, at her age, I honestly can’t wait to see what she’s like in two years or so.

3. Rustie

Without a doubt the most enjoyable live set of the day due to its danceability, Rustie just killed it. Laneway was very chilled for most of the day, but having the opportunity to let loose a bit and dance to someone who knew how to drop a beat made Rustie one of the best DJ acts I’ve ever seen.

4. Andy Bull

You can’t help but watch an Andy Bull set and just ask yourself “How? How does he sing that high?”. He’s always had a very androgynous voice, but the accuracy with which he can sing notes above what is normally humanly possible is pretty crazy. He always approaches his live performances with a sense of humour too, which always adds to the experience.

 

Have a happy weekend all! This Saturday I’m taking a break from watching indie acts and trying something completely new. Yep, I’m seeing One Direction. I’m not even ashamed.

 

By Erin Rooney