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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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Song of the Week: All We Need by Odesza (Kilter Remix)

Kilter Music Sydney

Kilter is one of my favourite live producers at the moment (along with Touch Sensitive) for one main reason – he shows off his musicality on stage. It’s easy for producers to play what seems like more of a DJ set due to the electronic nature of their work, so it can disconnect the audience slightly from their live presence. But for Kilter, percussion is a large element of his live shows, and you can also hear this in recordings of his original tracks and even his remixes.

Kilter’s recently released remix of Odesza’s “All We Need” is a great example of the integration of his own style of percussion into this bouncy track. Check it out for yourself:

But really, try and see Kilter live. He’s got a super engaging presence – as I saw clearly at Mountain Sounds Festival. And if you can’t get enough in the meantime, listen to his original track “They Say”:

 

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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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

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Indie Cred: Grantas

Grantas Music

Looking to bump up your electronic music IQ this Australia Day? Check out Grantas, a solo artist ‘making music on her foldable plastic IKEA laptop table’ – and beautiful music at that. You go Grantas.

Think a little Airling, a lot Lykke Li, Grantas combines loops of vocals, a mixture of rhythmic techniques and gentle tones to produce a swirling, soothing sound. Late last year, she released her debut single ‘Flight’, and we definitely love it:

 

This is a confident release from Grantas showing nice control and some experimentation – both of which indicates great songwriting potential. We’re looking forward to seeing what she does in the new year! Before we go, check out this live version of ‘Flight’, it’s lovely:

 

 

Happy Hottest 100 Day! We’ll be weighing in on Twitter today, hit us up!

By Erin Rooney