Aussie bands tell us what inspired them in 2016
It has been another incredible year for world class Australian music and it’s been very exciting to share a ton of it with you on The Beat Eclectic.
I recently invited a bunch of bands to pop in to the show and shine a light on the music that has fuelled their creativity this year. Their choices revealed a depth of knowledge and enthusiasm across all kinds of music.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Melbourne five-piece Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have kicked serious goals this year with their mini album Talk Tight. Three songwriters and a dual vocal attack makes for super dynamic songs filled with pop hooks and the perfect blend of acoustic and electric guitars.
They have already found major fans overseas, culminating in an overseas record deal with influential Seattle label Sub Pop. I can’t wait for their debut album, hopefully in 2017.
Fran and Tom say Gabriella Cohen’s debut album Full Closure and No Detail has been a favourite of theirs this year.
“I really like the way she uses tone and things which appear to be simple, little delicate things and she expands them and turns them into songs. Simplicity is really hard to pull off and that’s at the core of what we are trying to do in writing pop songs.”
“Ramshackle and a bit scummy” might be how Camp Cope describe their approach to music but that underplays the songwriting smarts behind their enthralling debut album this year.
Singer Georgia Maq used to write solo folk songs but her raw and emotionally honest lyrics are now fired by a punk urgency with the addition of Sarah Thompson on drums and Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich on bass.
This year they spearheaded the #ittakesone campaign to improve gig safety, especially for women.
They are one of the most exciting bands around right now and it’s hard to believe they’ve only been together for little over a year.
Camp Cope are big fans of Sydney band Mere Women
“Mere woman have been around for a few years now and are a huge influence on all of us,” Thompson said. “I have flat out refused to play a show after them because Kat is such a ridiculous drummer.”
It’s been five years since Sydney’s The Laurels released their acclaimed debut album Plains, but this year finally gave us new songs on Sonicology.
It’s still filled with their trademark swirling guitars but they’ve pushed their sound in new directions too. In short, they’ve got their groove on, with the addition of samples and more synth and sound fresh all over again.
Singer-guitarist Piers Cornelius found inspiration in the Happy Mondays.
“I love Shaun Ryder’s lyrics,” he said. “Sometimes they’re really wack and other times so specific but mostly I have no idea what he is singing about. I love the way their sound has such a wash over it and instruments come in an out all the time."
New York based duo Young Magic feature Indonesian born singer Melati Melay and Australian expatriate Isaac Emmanuel. On their third album Still Life, Melati delves deep into her cultural roots and emerges with an album full of entrancing global pop.
It began with a trip back to Java to hang out with her family, hear their stories and gather field recordings of traditional instruments and street sounds. These form the rich tapestry of sounds layered into Young Magic’s distillation of pop, dance and ethereal folk.
“I wanted to pull on samples from each culture I am a part of to figure out what my identity really is,” Melati said. “This album is a blend of the ancient traditions of Indonesia and the fast paced chaos of New York and new technology.”
New York cellist Kelsey Lu, who’ll be in Australia for MONA FOMA and Sugar Mountain, is a favourite performer for the band.
“She can silence a room with just voice and cello and that’s really hard to do in NY,” Emmanuel said.
“I feel like everything is trying to compete with volume and its really refreshing to hear music that is really stripped back and really powerful. We love subtlety in music and a sense of mystery, we want to give music time again. We’re in a place where music is consumed really fast.”
Karen Leng returns to Double J in 2017 in a new timeslot. Catch her 2pm daily, Monday to Thursday. And check out the records Karen loved in 2016 in her final show for the year.