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Artists We Love: Gretta Ray

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Gretta Ray was this year’s winner of the Triple J Unearthed High comp, and it’s been a well-deserved prize.

Her winning track ‘Drive’ is delightfully sweet, and as the name might suggest, perfect for a road trip. It has lovely little melodies that go the way you want them to at first, but then twist and turn at the last second. I recently found myself listening to it on a road trip from Seattle to Vancouver and will admit, it was the perfect soundtrack for falling in love!

Give it a go:

 

RELATED: Top Ten Female Artists We’re Loving Right Now

 

But just when you thought your ears couldn’t be more at ease, she’s gone and released another killer track called ‘Unwind’. It’s another beaut’ acoustic rock song – she’s got a really relaxed way of dancing about melodies that will fill you with joy, listen for yourself:

 

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/5234726

 

Just two words for Gretta: more please!

 

By Erin Rooney

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Music Video Highlights: Aphelion by The Valley Ends

The Valley Ends band

Melbourne alternative math-rock band The Valley Ends has caught our eyes and ears this week with their stunning music video release, “Aphelion”.

We’re taken into an old jazz club, but really, with the delicate acoustic guitars and warm strings, it feels like a spacious cabin in the woods. With so many musicians in the one space (the five band members and two guest strings players) there is incredible detail in their sound and it’s often hard to focus on any one instrument, as it all meshes together.

Check it out:

 

D’Agostino’s vocals are light and soar above the layered guitar rhythms and it’s a beautiful, complicated tune that The Valley Ends have put together this time around. It’s also awesome to see some (very pretty) Maton guitars involved in producing the sound (what can I say, I’m a sucker for Aussie guitars!).

You can check out more from The Valley Ends on their Soundcloud or listen to their EP, Falls, in full on Bandcamp.

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Band Spotlight: Interview with Lou From Alpine

Alpine Yuck

When Alpine released their first album, A is for Alpine in 2012, they really burst onto the music scene in a flash of bright, shimmering pop. Now that they’ve come back with their second album, Yuck, vocalist Lou reveals that their performance and writing style has evolved over the years, bringing a new approach creatively to the same older themes that they loved exploring, like figuring life out. I got to chat with Lou about the new album and the band’s adventures touring in America, and it seems like this album is just as fun as the first…


E: Describe your new album in five words.

L: RnB, Yuck, Assured, Heartache, Courage.

E: What were the best ideas that came out of brainstorming for Yuck

L: We finished touring end of 2013, and then we had a three month break where we went back into the studio. We knew exactly what was going on in each other’s lives, so a lot of the time in terms of what was inspiring lyrically, it was about being in your late 20s, in comparison to A is for Alpine, when we were in our early 20s. There was always kind of hope that when you get older, all these awkward feelings just kind of figure themselves out.

We noticed that from being about 27 years old, it’s sort of accepting that life is always hard and unexpected, but looking at it in a funny way. And that’s why we called the album Yuck because it’s kind of this ratty, just “Yuck!”, but it’s also kind of amazing because the more you face these challenges in life, the more you figure out about yourself, which is a really beautiful thing. I like to think of this album as a stage of our lives which is like Alpine in the truer sense.

E: What do you think you and Phoebe’s greatest strength as a team of vocalists is?

L: In terms of the writing of our vocals, I guess it’s funny – when we first started I had a very different style of singing, and now sometimes when we listen back to tracks, we can’t even tell who’s singing what! And because we’ve been together for so long, performing and always warming up, you start to create a unison sound. We’re very inspired by Kate Bush – she uses her vocal range in really different ways, and we try to push different sounds.

E: Do you prefer touring or writing?

L: They’re both so different – writing, it’s such a different part of your brain. It’s like you’re writing journal entries and trying to create a piece of artwork, and then when you’re touring it’s like bootcamp, you’re travelling around, you’re never at home, it’s quite exposing when you’re performing, and sometimes there are days where you might want to go to a friend’s party but you’re feeling really sad, and you’re like “I might just stay at home”. You can hibernate. But sometimes when you’re doing a show you feel like that but you have to do a show.

Emotionally, it’s way more challenging, but then the writing process is more therapeutic. The touring is still fun! But it’s such a different part – very yin and yang.

E: What’s your number one ‘yuck’ moment of all time?

L: I was having a long distance relationship with someone – and my reaction to anyone being in a long distance relationship was ‘yuck’, but then I ended up being in one! That was kind of unexpected. Just trying to make a long distance relationship work, and then when it ended, that was the yuckest experience. But obviously it was also the most beautiful because it was the first time I really ever felt in love.


Yuck is out now, and Alpine are touring all over Australia (including Splendour in the Grass)! They’ve got a super fun sound, so be sure to check them out.

By Erin Rooney

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Producer Spotlight: Petals by Basenji (Ft. Scenic)

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Basenji is definitely a quality over quantity kind of guy. He’s teased us with his release of “Heirloom” last year (one of our recommended songs for a ‘1 minute dance party’) and a delightful Sable remix, but after about a nine month wait he has finally released another original track, and good lord is it a beauty.

“Petals” features the ethereal vocals of Adam Tucker from Perth band Scenic and Basenji’s production, which is so careful and composed that it’s like a breath of spring in winter – you can drift off in its simple prettiness. But don’t take my word for, enchant your ears right now:

Heirloom” is Basenji’s first release after signing with Future Classic last year, and you can hear how polished his tracks have been since, which is why we just can’t wait for the release of his upcoming EP. Bring it on!

By Erin Rooney

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5 Easy Ways To Find Awesome New Music

Falls Festival 201415

For those who love finding new music but often have no idea where to begin to find stuff they like, check out Vinyl Garden’s tips for stumbling across your new fave artists and tracks. You might even earn some indie cred along the way by staying ahead of the punches.

1. Start with Spotify or Pandora

As a general rule, I like to think of Spotify as the ultimate resource if you know exactly who you want to listen to, whereas Pandora is best if you know what style or genre you want to go for but want to stumble across new artists. That said, Spotify also has some excellent playlists you can follow by genre, mood, or music influencers, so you can certainly stumble across new music if you look in the right places. But if you can’t decide… why not have both?

2. Use Hype Machine

Connect through Facebook to Hype Machine or create your own account, and discover amazing new music as it’s released, and through what’s trending. If like me you love discovering local Australian music, you can set your feed to what’s being blogged in Australia for all the local updates (hopefully one day you’ll see Vinyl Garden in there!). Another tip I highly recommend is becoming HypeM friends with people you know have very similar music taste to you – you’ll get all the songs they’ve ‘loved’ in your feed, and they might pleasantly surprise you sometimes!

3. Check in regularly with your favourite music blogs

Ok so maybe this was just shameless self-promotion, but once you find a music blog you really like it is worth connecting on Facebook and checking in from time to time…there will always be some hidden gems that you might have missed! Plus it’s kinda like keeping in touch with an old beloved friend…right? Check out some suggestions from us.

4. Find a radio station you love, listen often

It may seem the most obvious tip, but the key really is listening often. In Sydney, my personal favourite stations are Triple J and FBi Radio. I find that once I get into the habit of listening to them, it really keeps me up to date with what is popular currently and I can filter through what I like and don’t like. Plus, it gives you something to do getting ready in the morning or on the drive to work!

5. Always, always watch the support act at gigs 

I cannot recommend this enough. Since I started reviewing gigs for The BRAG, I started going to support acts as a courtesy for the review, but have now started doing it as a favour to myself. Why? Because support acts are usually supporting the band you love for a reason – they’re bloody good. And even if they’re not your cup of tea, you’re exposing yourself to something new and different. Plus, do you know how much indie cred you get when you meet bands BEFORE they get big? A lot. It’s a lot.

That’s it! If you do all of these, you’ll be a music gun in no time. Comment below if you have any more you think I’ve missed!

By Erin Rooney

PS: Thought I’d leave you with my weekly listening. I can’t get enough of Sufjan Stevens‘ new album Carrie & Lowell – it’s about his estranged mother who recently passed away, including things he wished he’d told her and memories. I’ve been loving storytelling albums like this one (such as the new album from Gang of Youths). Please enjoy my favourite song off the album, “Dying With Dignity”:

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Producer Spotlight: Nice Girls Can’t Dance

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While by day Alex Eldridge runs a children’s guitar school in Manly, by night he produces electronic music that could melt faces with its heavy melodies and beats, under the moniker of Nice Girls Can’t Dance. We had a chat to Alex about his new track, “This Town” and what he’s got in the works at the moment.


E: Describe your sound in five words.

Alex: Synth folk acid pop … synth.

E: What drew you to become an electronic music producer, despite teaching rock ‘n’ roll?

Alex: I have always loved collaborating creatively with other artists and I’ve been in bands for years and years but there’s something very satisfying about having an artistic creation that is completely your own. It’s like a little secret, like writing, where you can just totally not have to listen to anyone and let your creative impulses run amok!

The aesthetic of electronic music is also very important to me – it comes from growing up with video game music which is a bit of a touchstone for lots of producers today. The soundtrack to Final Fantasy VII was a huge influence on me! Probably going to Mosman High with guys like Flume and Jagwar Ma and Gang of Youths (Davo from that band actually sung for my HSC major work) was also an incredibly inspiring environment to grow up in, which made me consider music as a viable option.

E: How do you experiment with your sound?

Alex: I work very well with essentially a blank canvas. Like, actually a blank Logic project file. Then I kind of listen for something to grab onto and I’ll load up a synth or grab a guitar and kind of just follow that inspiration. It usually starts with either a melody or a beat and then I write from there. I’d compare it to sculpture: you’re chiselling a song out of the ether, it’s in there, you just have to gently chip away at it and hope you don’t knock off the nose or something. Samples are good too but I use them more for utility and less for inspiration.

I try to make sure that the lyrics are fitting in and literally telling a story too; not so much “I see you in the club, I wanna dance with you” kinda thing. I grew up listening to guys like Bob Dylan and Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys and those dudes actually say something when they sing. I think thats important. I want to create songs in an electronic medium that reference the past, specifically a lot of rock n’ roll stuff but kind of bring it up to date.

E: What do you like most about seeing electronic producers live? 

Alex: I really love it when producers are actively programming tracks in real time or playing instruments. DJing is great and I’ve done that myself which can be lots of fun, but there is something special about actually making something live, giving the music a chance to come alive of its own. I personally like to play live with a Novation Launchpad, which is kind of like an MPC (a media player) that works with Ableton Live.

E: What are you working on at the moment, what can we expect from you?

Alex: I just put out a new track called “This Town” with lots of woozy synths and vocals that I’m particularly stoked on. But there’s no rest for the wicked, so now I’m actually putting together a collection of songs with my friend Travis Keller of Buddyhead.com with some LA vocalist friends of his. Other than that, I’m putting on a live show at “legal and legitimate social events in Sydney’s industrial inner west” around Sydney. Just don’t tell your mum!


We’re really digging the subtle builds in “This Town” and looking forward to seeing how Alex’s sound develops in the future! You can check out this new track from Nice Girls Can’t Dance here:

By Erin Rooney

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Song of the Week: “Games” by Melwonderland

Melwonderland

Her artist name may sound very similar to Alison Wonderland, but don’t be confused, because Melwonderland isn’t exactly dropping dirty beats and drops. Instead, she’s a sweet but edgy singer and songwriter from Melbourne, and she’s just released her first single, “Games“.

Melissa has been a four-chord songwriting warrior for over 13 years, and I like the simple beauty of this new release.

As the title suggests, expect both glitchy video game-like sound bites and lyrics about figuring love out when things aren’t so clear. Have a listen here:

This is a promising first single from Melwonderland and she’s been making waves in LA this year, so she will be an interesting artist to watch for more releases from.

By Erin Rooney