On this lazy and very rainy Sunday, there’s nothing more simple or beautiful than listening to the oscillating notes of Brisbane producer Danny Harley (aka The Kite String Tangle). His debut six-track EP is a collection of pensive exploration into love, human connection and letting go.
Harley has certainly started developing his voice in this EP, presenting trembling rhythms and swells throughout the songs that work like a musical filter to create a consistent, powerful sound. His vocals fill gaps and create a connection that keeps the listener engaged.
Looking past his already-successful singles, a particular highlight in Vessel is the development of beats and use of African drum samples in “What If”. You can detect the growth in his song writing in this track from his earlier singles.
Though developing his own signature sound, there are some interesting influences coming into play. “Words” feels very Oliver Tank, pulling everything back a notch and allowing gentle reflection. “Stone Cold” features a Kimbra-esque vocal appearance from Tiana Khasi which brings nice diversity to the EP.
There’s always been something particularly special about TKST that we’ve held close here at Vinyl Garden, and what this EP really brings home for us is the sheer feeling that goes into his music. The work seems to be an extension of his heart – incredibly emotionally-driven both melodically and lyrically, expressing great depth so early in his career.
Artist: Sticky Fingers Album: Land of Pleasure Hometown: Sydney Genre: Indie Rock/Reggae Rock
With two tasty singles under their belt this year already, Sticky Fingers have stirred a melting pot of influences together to produce a rugged yet astoundingly catchy reggae-rock sound on this confident second album.
The opener, ‘Land Of Pleasure’, emits a coaxing cry without giving away too much of their game, as the song is barely a glimpse of the versatility that Sticky Fingers are capable of. Tied together by the echoing Aussie twang of Dylan Frost’s vocals, the songs dance between styles, from the heavy reggae beats of ‘Fake A Smile’ to silkier glories like ‘Rum Rage’. In the process of listening to this album, ‘Feast Your Eyes’ has also earned me my fair share of stares on morning runs with its irresistibly danceable beat.
While most of the album will put pep in your step, Land Of Pleasure isn’t without its lower points. The record is perhaps one or two tracks too long, and the newer songs fail to convey the same effortlessness of singles ‘Gold Snafu’ and ‘Just For You’.
This needn’t deter you from listening all the way through, however. There is more than enough variety in the record for everyone, and it provides a wonderful detour from the electronica and indie rock currently dominating the Australian music scene. So prepare for a feast, because this album is finger-lickin’ good.
Land of Pleasure is out now for your listening pleasure. Chill on out by grabbing yourself a copy, go on!
Artist: Streets of Laredo Album: Lonsdale Line EP Hometown: New Zealand Genre: Indie Folk
Streets of Laredo are the friends you want to accompany you on an adventure road tripping across the countryside. A New Zealand folk group based in Brooklyn, NY, these talented young people provide a candid glimpse into life in New York through their Lonsdale Line EP.
With a traveling band spirit similar to The Lumineers and Alabama Shakes, Streets of Laredo nail their mix of jangling instruments in “Lonsdale Line” and “Girlfriend”. Strong melodies make the tunes upbeat, both describing a form of escape from the drudgery of paying rent and trying to survive as a young person. In particular “Lonsdale Line” creates rather strong imagery of the American landscape, explored further in the rather beautiful music video directed and animated by Chris Tucci & Steven Mertens:
The EP then takes a slower, more pensive turn with the tracks “I’m Living (Bedroom Demo)” and “Need A Little Help (Bedroom Demo)”, continuing to lightly contemplate the existence of young people with a sadder tone.
This is a short and sweet record that gives a nice little taster into the potential of Streets of Laredo. And if you’re anything like us, dreaming of the energetic streets of New York, you can transport yourself there right now with their music video for ‘Girlfriend’.
Artist: Akouo Album: Mesa EP Hometown: Northern Tasmania, TAS Genre: Indie Electronic
After seeing Ryan Farrington AKA Akouo support SAFIA on their single tour, he demonstrated to the audience pretty quickly that he’s one to keep a close eye on. Transforming dance floors with his heavy beats, and more importantly, his electrifying energy, one listen to this EP will give you only a snapshot of his talent.
“Last Time” is a perfect example of Akouo’s ability to drop a beat. Listen, and just try not to bounce. Alternatively, if you want to ease into his beat-heavy style of producing, take a look at what he’s done with Flume/George Maple’s “Bring You Down”:
“Not Enough” follows on from this strong start, leading with important vocals but dropping back to bring fluctuating rhythms forward. “Passing Through” and “Seas Roll On” are more restrained tracks, exploring simpler themes and repeating vocal lines.
There is a lot of variety on this EP which can be easy to overlook, exhibiting a number of influences from indie music to soul pop and hip hop.
A solid release from Akouo, but if you want to truly experience his music, catch one of his live shows. Word on the street is that he’ll soon be moving to mainland Australia so there should be many more of those!
Artist: DMA’s Album: DMA’s Hometown: Sydney, NSW Genre: Alternative Rock
DMA’s are too cool for school. We’re talking denim jackets, American Pie, Converse High Tops cool – the best, most 90’s influenced kind.
I was honestly a little confused when I first had a listen to this EP after seeing the artwork: it was not at all what I expected. With those flipped up caps and bucket hat, I was seriously preparing myself for an onslaught of Aussie hip hop. My ears were met instead by fun, almost Oasis-like pop!
The record is very pulled back, with bare guitar lines driving the rhythm and raw vocals, a refreshing sound for today’s brand of alternative rock. You can particularly notice this in tracks like “Your Low” and “Play It Out”.
Interestingly, the Newtown-based trio recorded the standout single of the EP, “Delete”, in guitarist Johnny Took’s bedroom before getting signed with I Oh You. And listening to it, you can almost picture how much fun it would have been to lay down the tracks and hang out; it’s a real throw back to one of the best decades of music.
This is an impressive first release from DMA’s and one that suggests we should keep a close watch on what’s to come! DMA’s are in the process of performing their first live run of shows, with tickets still available for the Brisbane show this Friday 30 May.