2015 wrap up..

Everyone posts their end of year wrap-ups and I will be no exception 🙂

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving dropped ‘Yield To Despair’ which cut new ground in the genre I believe. Heavy as sin and dark as Mordor..but not one chug/djent/bow/riff to be found. Spacey, ambient, proggy, slow, massive. The band shook off the old jazz/math/proggy styles in favour of something far more brooding and the results were awesome. Difficult to listen to and even harder to describe, this was a real time vampire for me this year..kept me coming back over and over to try and fully digest what was going on. So good.

Out of nowhere.. Newcastle lads ‘Majora’ arrived on the scene loaded with music recorded and ready to drop. Way to hit the ground running!! Getting some generous radio play and favourable reviews the band hit the road touring in various support slots and then later as headliners. Big year. The material on Iridescent is strong instro-rock with a nice post-rock lean. Melodic, uplifting and sometimes dark and heavy..but man I played this one a lot and still do.. such epic music!

Fourteen Nights at Sea finally saw the release of their 3rd full length ‘Minor Light’ and it didn’t disappoint. As ethereal and ambient as music with guitars can be it was offset with utterly depressing and emotional heaviness. I found this to be my go-to album for rainy and stormy nights. The contrast between the highs and lows this band can conjure up are huge and the production on this is honestly second to none.

They’re my top 3 for 2015. Yeh a lot of other great music came out, nods to In Hearts Wake for their banger ‘Skydancer’ and Northlane for that ARIA! Hermitude’s insta-classic ‘Dark Night Sweet Light’ was the only thing I listened to in between all these post-prog-metal etc bands. Teramaze gave us aus-prog metal album of the year and to be honest..im still trying to make up my mind about DVSR..but glad to hear some hard-as-fuck aussie hip hop that djents.

Gonna take a lil break like everyone else..come back for a 2016 with more!

Special thanks to Hobbeldehoy Records & Art As Catharsis for the advances, all the bands who shared their music with me and all the readers and facey followers who come across the page.

Cheers

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The Human Instrumentality Project – Daybreak on Solstice (2015)

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Here’s what you get when you cross ‘Deftones’ with ‘Explosions in the Sky’!

Heavy ass riffage that feels like it was unwillingly churned up from the depths of a dark and miserable place juxtaposed against melodic and ambient guitar work to lull fairies asleep. Continue reading The Human Instrumentality Project – Daybreak on Solstice (2015)

HEIRESS – Cold War (single) 2015

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HEIRESS new hard hitting, super gritty single is loaded with a relevant message and that polarizing energy that hardcore bands so often lack these days. Even more real..is how they  are offering up the new track which was recorded a year ago..(but are only seeing its release now with the bands return to the fray) they are donating the proceeds of its sale to Beyond Blue* who raise awareness for depression and anxiety.

The lyrics to ‘Cold War’ read like the internal dialogue of someone struggling against their own darker nature. ‘I never used to be violent/through this struggle how could I stay silent and be like them trapped in hell” and by the sounds of it…old mate has seen some shit.

It never fails to make an impact when passionate and emotional content is delivered so irreverently and up front. Read the lyrics and hang in there for the drop at 1;20..its a baller of a track and has a great cause behind it.

People often say they fel like they dont know how to help.. where to start or where to pitch in.. we’ll here’s a great way to make a dollar count. Plus you get a well executed 3 minute slice of hardcore that manages to entertain even on the 3rd, 4th and 5th spin. Welcome back HEIRESS!

*If you don’t know who they are..i’ll just link you directly and ponder how exactly you have managed to avoid knowing anything about one of the biggest issues facing our nation BUT anyway..

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Get the song here:

http://heiressau.bandcamp.com/track/cold-war

Follow them here:

http://www.facebook.com/heiressband

 

Treehouses – 3am (single) 2015

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Hailing from Perth, ‘Treehouses’ do this blend of spoken work/screamo/acoustic music that’s been turning a heads since they dropped the full length ‘Id Rather Forget’ in late 2014.

On the new single ‘3am’ the band open with soft acoustic guitars and pretty female vocals reminiscent of Jayne Tyrrell’s sultry tones.  There are nice harmonies and just a touch of background noise which all seems pretty by-the-book folk for the first minute. Then as a subtle slide guitar blends in (as if right on cue for any alt folk group) a spoken word passage comes in. They swap over and then overlay the spoken and sung parts against the background of this slow cruisy track has all the right ingredients to catapult the band into hipster/indie fandom.

With about a minute to go the screaming component of the bands sound comes in and rather than employ a more confronting up-front vocal which would typically isolate this band from audiences less familiar with that sound…it’s set back in the mix to compliment the melancholy and emotion of the other sung parts.

It’s not what I was expecting. Before I can make up my mind about whether I liked it or not I’m hitting the replay button to go at it a second time. And a third.. fourth…tenth time and so on. It took time and repeat spins before concluding that yes…this is definitely sincere and beautiful and raw music that needs to be heard,

The band have shot a video to accompany the release and support the upcoming 6-track affair ‘Extended Family’ which is available for pre-order now through bandcamp. You can pre-order the cassette release of ‘Extended Family’ through Spit The Dummy records as well.

Check the visuals here:

Order the tape here:

http://spitthedummyrecords.bigcartel.com/product/stdr004-treehouses-extended-family-tape

Listen to all their stuff here:

http://treehousesperth.bandcamp.com/

Instrumental (adj) – A Series of Disagreements (2015)

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Sydney 3 piece ‘Instrumental (adj)’ have dropped an intense slab of prog in the form of a three track album called ‘A Series of Disagreements’ which you can buy or download (pay what you want) from the lovely folks at Art As Catharsis.

If you wish Between the Buried and Me’s ‘Colours’ had an additional 3 songs.. then you will love this. If you listened to Animals As Leaders and thought.. man I wish there was something like this in Australia.. then you’re going to love this.

This is a standout release amongst a pretty great year of releases. It’s technical, progressive and instrumental music that weaves, noodles and riffs all over the place resulting in comments such as ‘okay what the hell was that’ and ‘oh man.. im quitting guitar now’.

The opening/title track gets started with a clean guitar stabbing jazz chords with some very busy and impressive bass work that has an almost jazz/funk feel to it. The drums just spazz out all over the place and it’s clear from the first 40 seconds that this will be a hell of a ride.

If the jazzy/math sounds put you off a bit (like it did for me at first) just stick with it. Shit gets real at the 1 minute mark with these frantic blasts and discordant runs up the guitars neck. It’s utterly jarring, surprising and immediately caught my curiosity. At 2 ½ minutes in and they’ve gone full retard with proggy metal riffs and off time drums jolting and pushing the 1’s and 4’s to their limits. It comes full circle with the reintroduction of the stabby/jazz feel from the start of the song and winds down with a chilled outro that settles the listener into a nice lull.

The other two piece’s lend themselves to more metal styles. There’s lead sections, blasts and frantic drumming upping the pace in parts, heavier guitar sounds that carry more weight and dread.. plus a delightful envelop filter effect that pops in and out of sections which really stands out and could very well be the first time I’ve heard an effect like that used and made to sound relevant and appropriate.

Production is spot on. Ultra tight, very clear and un-cluttered (despite the busy nature of the material). You’ll hear everything crystal clear and it sounds damn fine up loud so I encourage showing it your neighbours.. you know.. through your rumbling windows and walls!

https://artascatharsis.bandcamp.com/album/a-series-of-disagreements

https://www.facebook.com/instrumentaladj

Polaris – Regress (single) 2015

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Polaris are a 5 piece band from Sydney playing heavy music in a similar style as Northlane/In Hearts Wake etc and yet have quite remarkably managed to retain some originality and appeal with their delivery despite the now tired genre being full of cliché’s and tropes to avoid.

Having released a great single earlier in 2015 titled ‘Unfamiliar’, the expectations were nudged up a notch to anticipate something pretty decent from this outfit and whilst the band plugged away at the writing and recording bits a zillion other things have happened i.e. tours, other albums, that star wars trailer…you know…stuff!

So it was quite a splash when they dropped this new banger (complete with a new video) into our newsfeeds. And well…the results speak for themselves. If this is the precedent for what is to follow, 2016 is all theirs. You get some huge riffs, powerful vocals and a lot of dynamics. Listen for that huge note that just hangs in the breakdown (2:06) …oh man.. highlight moment for me! Its so dirty.

It’s described as Metal/Post-Hardcore and whilst I don’t argue that those pigeon holes are accurate, they do leave me wanting to use anything else to describe them for the fear of putting off potential new listeners who maybe (like myself) are cynical towards their chances of actually having something cool to offer.

Grab both singles from the bands unearthed page for free, go follow em on Facebook and grab a shirt from a show. You’ll want it in your wardrobe when the band blows up next year!

Tracks here:

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/polaris

video..here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCqgqkVmzKo

 

iiah – self titled (2015)

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6 tracks, self released from Adelaide based outfit ‘iiah’ putting together music that borrows from the twinkly emo post-rock genre and somehow cuts a swathe all of it own. Albeit a sad one.

From the opening  intro-track the group brings ambient, reverb laden guitars and pretty picked melodies played out over slow paced patterns and delay trails. There’s some big rock moments to follow on ‘Gunnhild’ which contrast well…but those louder moments are scattered throughout the EP and serve to build the tension and impact of the parts before them.

Front man Tim Day has a voice that reminds me of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis at times, in others parts where he’s lamenting and holding longer notes..it’s much more haunting and sounds like a traditional choir vocalist. It’s really quite an interesting mix all up because in the current landscape of bands playing with the shoegaze/emo/post-everything sound, the trend is to do that sing-speak-yelling thing OR be as understated as possible.

‘Letter 86’ makes interesting use of blippy/keyboard drum sounds and interweaves them with the real kit…another creative leap ‘iiah’ are taking with the genre. The synths employed over the later half of the track ‘Sarah’ make a good case for messing with the formula as a post-rock band too.

Here’s a group bringing a strong unique male voice to the front but successfully avoiding the tropes and sounding original. Add to that a band behind it all hitting every step of the post-rock approach and reaching some very cool moments…its really worth checking out! The production is solid and well rounded, the mix may favor Tim’s vocal’s a bit much and the guitars tend to sound a little washed out sometimes, but all this is just details. I think there’s a market for artists like ‘iiah’..not quite post-pop or shoegaze, not quite alt rock or prog..just something else which fans of either side of that coin might like.

http://iiah.bandcamp.com/album/iiah

https://www.facebook.com/iiahband