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!
Thumpers might seem like a strange name for a band, but it won’t after experiencing the syncopated, pounding rhythms they bring to their live shows. And this well-managed sound was certainly a pleasant surprise for the casual audience that made it down to Newtown Social Club on Thursday.
As the crowd gently trickled in, Billy Fox filled the room with swirling electronic notes that brought to mind San Francisco producer Tycho, combined with snappier vocals to lift the mood. His offbeat sense of humour matched a quirky sense of style, and managed to lighten up the quiet audience.
Tales in Space started to draw a larger audience with an intriguingly in-sync rhythm guitar section and bass line that made them seem almost like a parody band. But these guys meant business, pulling out all the stops with nicely placed indie rock harmonies and even a cosmic cover of George Michael’s sultry “Careless Whisper” (a riff like that sax line never goes astray, I can tell you).
UK act Thumpers followed and showed the audience just how much fun they could have, with great chemistry on stage between friends. In fact, there was so much going on that it made me stop and realise just how much it’s easy to miss in a recording. From getting the audience in on the action by clapping, to a complex patchwork of syncopated vocal rhythms, there was a lot being put into their sound and none of it was lost on stage. “Tame” was a standout track in this respect, creating an interesting weave of beats.
“We’re used to having an eleven-piece ensemble on stage, but we couldn’t afford to fly them all out,” apologised lead vocalist Marcus Pepperell. But Newtown Social Club proved once again to be a space that facilitates effective mixing of the sound, allowing each member of the band to shine, and bringing out the particularly lovely backup vocals just enough. The final track “Unkinder (A Tougher Love)” got people moving and encouraged some (ahem, braver) members of the audience to dance like no one was watching.
Thumpers gave a spirited performance to a relaxed audience and revealed their rhythmic prowess. Check out their debut album Galore, out now.
The VANNS and their jangly rock are back with the new single “Guilty Love”, ready for a set of shows coming up on the east coast.
Hailing from Kiama, these guys have a unique old school vibe and a penchant for catchy melodies. If you haven’t already checked them out, hit up one of their older tracks “How It Used To Be”, and just try to resist dancing along to that intro:
James Vann’s husky vocals have always been a signature sound for the band, and “Guilty Love” is no exception. But this track is really bringing out a more mature indie rock sound, and showing off those retro blues influences!
The VANNS are playing at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on Friday 23rd May – a great live act not to be missed! Grab your tix here.
Artist: Ball Park Music Album: Puddinghead Hometown: Brisbane, QLD Genre: Indie Rock
Brisbane five-piece Ball Park Music released their new album Puddinghead last Friday, exhibiting a renewed indie-rock style and healthy amount of angst in their catchy tunes.
The first half of the album is particularly strong. Just check out their opening track “She Only Loves Me When I’m There” for one, a great introduction to a fantastic record. With a powerful hymn-like style vocal line and eerie keys, it feels like Sam Cromack forms a full choir. Then it’s back into a more rock-y feel, some catchy lyrics and it’s here that we get an idea for what the rest of the record is going to be like.
We are lead swiftly onto a standout track of the album with “Next Life Already“, where we can experience a high-school-teenager level of indie rock angst. With lyrics like “I just wanna float downstream, I just wanna forget everything” to a great rocky beat, this track makes for some very good headbanging to get it all out of your system.
By track three, “A Good Life Is The Best Revenge”, we’re really starting to see some recurring themes here. It’s almost as if we’ve had a bad break to a friendship or relationship and it’s time to start expressing some of these emotions through motivation! Then “Teenage Pie” leaves us back wallowing again. But hey, those back up vocals from Jennifer Boyce are really something.
After these, it’s time to “get your mojo back” and “feel 100%” with “Trippin’ The Light Fantastic”. Another highlight of the album for sure, and a solid singable tune.
The second half of the album hosts some gems too. I haven’t figured out what a “Cocaine Lion” is, but the song itself has some beautiful moments, particularly the build towards the end of the song and magical rock harmonies. “Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You” is also either really depressing or really sweet, I still haven’t decided which. Nevertheless, it’s a very fun listen.
Eventually we are led out of the album by “Girls From High School”, with a ‘wub-y’ bass line and a folky-indie feel vaguely reminiscent of the hopeful tunes of The Format, and told aptly “I never got to say goodbye, bye bye“.
This is a lyrically strong piece of work by Ball Park Music and an album absolutely worth listening to in full. Sing, hum and dance highly embarrassingly along (in the comfort and privacy of your room of course).
Puddinghead is out now. Grab a copy in store or hit up Spotify to experience Ball Park Music’s latest masterpiece.