Tortoiseshell, Autotune, Baby Monkeys and Piglets

Lo, I have seen the future of music. It is not, as some would have you believe, hypnagogic pop, chillwave or born of some other ludicrous micro-genre, but may well in years to come be seen as entirely symptomatic of music right now.

Brace yourself and find such earth-shattering examples here: in this song soundtracking a video of a baby monkey riding a pig backwards, and this auto-tuned interview with a stoner who heroically halted a planned Qur’an cook-off.

So, you now may be thinking, where’s the joke? Well, there isn’t one – if the cyclically re-appropriating, subversive and cut-up ‘n’ throwaway nature of today’s internet is better (or in the case of the baby monkey/piglet video, more *adorably*) illustrated, then I’ve yet to see it.

Tortoiseshell // This Girl

Music is now like any other internet-ready commodity: ultra-disposable, quickly mutating and fleeting in almost every respect. Where this leaves Tortoiseshell I’m not entirely sure, though – as always – I’m praying that a band of their hypnotically swoonsome quality won’t simply become more cud chewed up and spat out by the breathless music hype machine.

This Girl is the rarest of beasts: a simple love song that is elevated by a mixture of detached sincerity, cool execution and restraint. There is no deceit in This Girl, no ironic step-of-removal from the subject – it dives straight in, shameless, and is happy to explore; straight-faced, trusting.

So perhaps Tortoiseshell might avoid engaging with the endless gargle-and-spit nature of pop today, simply by virtue of their sincerity. I suppose chucking an ironic autotune remix onto their Myspace page couldn’t hurt…

Kite Club – The Luxury Of Memory

Some bands manage to reminisce without lumpenly copying what has gone before them. Some bands can induce thoughts and memories without bluntly pounding them into submission first. Kite Club is one of these bands.

Kite Club // Going Swimming

Going Swimming reveals Kite Club to be, above all, careful. Precision can often be the beginning of musical tedium – picture an hour spent to get that snare drum just so, and then imagine how the recording sessions for the last Coldplay album may well have panned out – but Kite Club has been exact in a different way.

Kite Club demands precision in feel, and relaxation in everything else. This song is, in turns, horizon-wide and cathedral grand, then paper-clay fragile and dainty enough to hold in the palm. Muted but piercing, dazzling but translucent, Going Swimming is a jewel-like song in all respects.

Synaesthesia may not have yet fully taken grip here at ANBAD, but it seems reasonable to say that Going Swimming is the sound that a pile of faded, round-cornered photographs of happy childhood holidays would make.

Those feelings are not easy to conjour, and it’s probably not worth our collective whiles delving into the hows and whys. The best, and intended, response is to delve in, futilely try to absorb the sun-warmed muted colour palette by osmosis, and get cosy in the dry heat of memories.

Wolfy and The Bat Cubs – Straight Outta Nowhere

Hell, I’m only just back from holiday. My hamster wheel isn’t spinning back at it’s proper speed yet. So my decision making may be impaired. Look, for example at today’s new band, Wolfy and The Bat Cubs. They’ve only had a thousand views on Myspace. Their songs have all been played less than ten times. What kind of choice is that?

Wolfy and The Bat Cubs // Forgive Me Baby

You could say that this band have been done before, many, many times. You could say that their look is a throwback. You could say that their dense, lumbering songs are simply Neil Young rip-offs.

Maybe you’d be right. But you could also say that here is a band who’ve wholeheartedly embraced the past, for all its enticing beauty. Their hair is uniformly long; the guys look brusque and sport cigarettes; the girls are cute – ouch, how cute – and are choicely feisty. They all look about 18. Their guitar riffs and clobbering drums are similarly simple, but also thick, heavy and rich.

Forgive Me Baby scratched a part of my subconscious that I didn’t know needed tickling. Wolfy and The Bat Cubs are deeply likeable – loveable even – and yet it took me all of five listens to figure out why.

The answer was almost too simple: in Forgive Me Baby, WATBC have  written a great, lamenting, uplifting rock song with a hook that needles into a deep recess of your brain. That’s a really hard thing to do – ask Coldplay, who’ve been trying and failing for about a decade.

Occasionally there are bands that appear from nowhere, clutching a brilliant song that demands a much wider audience, simply because the song itself is bigger than them. Wolfy and The Bat Cubs are one of those bands. Excellent.

The View From… Melbourne

In the first of  ANBAD’s new View From features – where writers from all over the world give us an insight into what’s happening to new music where they are – Chris A introduces us to a story of lost talent, possible redemption and an astonishingly facile dance phenomenon that will blow your mind…

Australia. Referred to by our tourism administration as ‘The Sunburnt Country’, referred to by fellow Australians as ‘Australia’. Australia contains more than just cute fuzzy wildlife and cricket champions- it contains the great city of Melbourne; which incidentally is where I live.

Think of Melbourne as a less-famous version of the more well-known Sydney; the difference is that Melbourne does not have a ghastly white pointy monstrosity where opera is supposedly performed.

Instead it contains all the culture of Australia, the film industry, amazing art galleries, literature… the list goes on. However, somewhere, we lost music.

Melbourne has produced in the past musical legends such as Men at Work (Down Under), Skyhooks (Horror Movie) and the locally famous Daddy Cool whose 70s hit ‘Eagle Rock’ still remains a popular drunk-sing-along tune in the parties of today. But what are we doing now that 2010 has rolled along?

Unfortunately, now that The Avalanches’ fame has died out after the indescribably amazing hit Frontier Psychiatrist, The Living End moved onto a less daring and more profit-safe sound and the consistently brilliant Cat Empire are pushed into the underground cult fan scene; Melbourne is left with no hit bands worth a mention.

But the real tragedy of Melbourne’s situation is in the upcoming ‘talent’.

Every Battle of the Bands can now be more likened to a side-fringe hair competition, with more angsty teens trying to form mosh pits than you can poke a My Chemical Romance CD at.

The amount of vocal-cord shattering, eardrum bleeding screamo bands in the city is more tragic than the lyrics that the bands themselves scream. Sydney has taken the lead in Aussie music with Electro-punk acts The Presets, and the upcoming Cassette Kids.

However there is still hope for the beloved Melbourne: Techno-clubbers enjoy The Edgy and The Prince clubs as places to do the ‘Melbourne shuffle’ to The Bloody Beetroots’ ‘Warp 1.9’ on repeat.

The Hardstyle Trance scene in the city is notoriously conjoined with the Melbourne-exclusive social stereotype ‘Muzza’, a phenomenon that- (like the hideous architecture of Federation Square) has to be seen to be believed.

Alt. rockers can take refuge in The Ding Dong Lounge, Revolver and Nighthawk, where Melbourne’s musical saviours; bands like Vixia, Johnny Rock and the Limits and The Solomons fight with their backs against the wall to fend off the hordes of emo sympathizers, wannabe Cannibal Corpse-esque Death Metal bands and Melbourne-Shuffling Muzzas.

They bring rock with tangible melodies and at the very least – remotely understandable lyrics – back to the locally deprived fans. Melbourne music may yet rise again.

Chris A//Melbourne//

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