Deep in Bedlam Records studios, a pair of young Brisbane producers have been brewing an electro-pop project called Onassis. Fresh as the late Autumn in their home town, first release ’Second Chance’ was immediately picked up by Triple J’s Lewi McKirdy and thrown on the air, literally within minutes.
One of the guys used to play bass guitar for the short-lived Princes of Harlin and the other was in Vasy Mollo, both writing fantastic music for the stage but going relatively unheard. Makes you wonder how much other good shit there must be out there.
Their small catalogue of unreleased demos IMHO sounds like a blend of Hot Chip, Art vs Science and Scissor Sisters. Onassis have busted out a well polished banger, a bit of mastering and tweaking having been done by the Bedlam guys themselves. The vocals are a standout in the way of energy, production and lyrics. “I need a second chance at life, and another one to do what I need, and another one to do what I please”. So true. And have a go at the menacing synth solos in the third quarter…
Onassis – Second Chance
You know those songs you hear at a party for the first time and immediately confront the DJ – “name and artist?” Of course, the music is blaring, so he or she has to scream it in your ear six times before it can be banked to your intoxicated memory. On one such occasion a few years ago, that song was Santigold‘s “L.E.S Artistes”.
Despite having worked in the industry for many years, up until April 24 this year Santigold had only ever released one album. On the back of a decorated career in A&R for Epic Records and as a songwriter for a number of famous popstars, Santi White, as she was then known, eventually started performing as Santigold to release a self-titled debut record in 2008.
The sassy and stylish diva was never going to dissappoint on a follow-up album four years in the making and sure enough, “Master of My Make Believe” goes above and beyond whatever was expected of the Brooklyn local. Her songs are so human, she sings about real things, without sacrifcing meaning for the sake of a rhyming couplet. She means what she says and says what she means, and the same cannot be said for many other artists of her genre or era.
A few days after appearing on the main stage at Coachella, Santigold absolutely wooed a small and intimate home crowd at the Bowery Ballroom in New York city. In a rarely seen scenario, the biggest cheers from the audience came when she offered to perform some new material, which was as well recieved as it was anticipated.
A double-page spread in The New York Times and a feature article in SPIN magazine in the days following the release of her new record praised Santigold’s genuine artistry, attention to detail with regard to music production, originality, and phenomenal life presence. Onstage at the Bowery, Santi would finish every song with a quick tilt of the head and a big grin, as if to say “ta-daa!”
Get an earful of ‘The Keeper’, off the new album.
Santigold – The Keepers
Who knows what this self proclaimed “three-headed dog” from Sweden are trying to get across in this song. To me, taking ‘Black and Blue’ one line at a time offers a better listening experience than trying to decipher a greater meaning from the lyrics. It’s like the scene in The Shawshank Redemption when Andy Defresn starts blasting Mozart through the intercom. Narator Morgan Freeman, says “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is I don’t wanna know – some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of it“. He goes on with some metaphor about birds flapping into the prison and dissolving the walls to feign a brief moment of freedom for the residents, but I personally wouldn’t take it that far. For a start I’ve never been indicted, so I dare not speculate with regard to ‘Black and Blue’.
Elaborate Hollywood analogies aside, Miike Snow have been floating around Australian radio waves since 2009 and the release of ‘Animal‘ under their self-titled debut album. However it wasn’t until recently when planning a trip to the US, researching the artists who happe to be playing in New York city while I’m there, booking tickets to Miike Snow at the famous Terminal 5 and thereby listening to their back catalogue that I came across this gem.
What a fine four-footed trio… The next installment of Converse‘s ’Three Artists, One Song’ intitiative draws together two of the world’s hottest new artists and a famed pioneer, educator and entrepruneur in the DJ world.
Perhaps it was the 2012 Big Day Out that introduced Mark Foster, frontman of fresh Californian pop sensations Foster the People to the wife-material Kiwi darling Kimbra. Indeed, they were both rostered on the Converse Essential Stage for the international touring festival earlier this year. Either way its a fantastic match-up; Foster can sound remarkably feminine at the best of times and coupled with the vocal dynamics of Kimbra, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two in ‘Warrior’. The prominant, uplifting synths typical of Foster the People is audible, as is stuttering remix work of A-Trak.
It’s a great video too; colourful choreography, slick production and a finale where Kimbra abandons her lollypop skirt before performing a roundhouse kick that would school even Heihachi Mishima. She hasn’t put a foot wrong. One that note, this video would look right at home as the opening credits for latest Tekken 6, and 90% of the Fuel TV programming for that matter.
One of the top comments in the initial days this video was posted said something like, “Kimbra could kick me in the face any day”.
Kimbra, A-Trak and Mark Foster – Warrior
While the camerawork here is rather ordinary at times, credit is definitely due to the machine that captured this little party at Big Day Out at the Gold Coast this year, if only for the surprisingly great sound quality. A live Drapht show, the nifty little Xacti 750HD by Sanyo, Youtube’s stabilizer function and a decent set of headphones; you’ll be wishing you had a name like “Jimmy Recard”.
However, the camera’s High Definition could be much more highly defined and it obviously won’t responsible for a Hollywood Blockbuster anytime soon, but for something you can fit easily in your pocket and whip out willy-nilly at a music festival, it does the job. The best thing is the fold-out, rotatable LCD screen that enables you to hold it at arms length over a canopy of colourful heads, hats, arms, iPhones and shoulder-mounted sheilas and still see what you’re recording with comfort. The first video was recorded at quite a distance from the stage but the Xacti has reasonable zoom capabilities too, even though it struggles a bit in dimply lit environments, like the Converse Green Stage for example.
To the camcorder’s merrit, on this occasion it actually prevented a fight from going down in the crowd. A tusstle flared up between a couple of aussie hip hop chicks during the intro, dimishing in a flash when the culprits realised they were being filmed. Should’ve been more subtle hey!
WATCH IN 750HD
So far the Xacti has been used in every video posted on Flash Bangers, inlcuding the set by Art vs Science later that night in notorious Boiler Room at the same festival. Great cover of the Chemical Brothers‘ “Block Rockin Beats”.
The View have brought one of Scotland’s finest countrywomen to cast in the video for their 2011 single “Grace”. Another tick is the fact that the accents are audible. Suitable for any playlist.
This slow, droning ballad by The Rubens could bring a man to tears. Consisting of three brothers and a childhood friend from Menangle in NSW, these guys are one of the few bands that name Jimi Hendrix as one of their influences and earn the comparison. ‘Lay it Down’ has been around a few months now, but as Hendrix himself has proven, when emotion is audible in guitar lines, the music can be timeless. This song will make you want o here more of The Rubens, so go to their Facebook and Triple J Unearthed pages (linked in the names).
Here’s one Counter Strike fenatics and Call of Duty tragics alike will relate too. Not to mention Skrillex fans. Feed Me is a filthstep producer from the UK and the lyrics are sampled from, according to Urban Dictionary:
Those lucky enough to have found themselves under the amazing “3D” light show married to Swedish House Mafia‘s set at Future Music this year would have heard the sadistic sounds of Australian DJ/producer Tommy Trash.
The headliners dropped his new single “The End” like a tonne of bricks at Doomben, and apparently along with house music godfather Tiesto, do so on the reg. Fair enough too. If your job was to travel around in learjets and entertain ravers at the world’s biggest parties, having this little gem in the queue would come in handy.
Tommy must be doing something right.
Along with the absence of Duff Beer and access to a television, this menacing riff that sounds a bit like an Indian trumpet would surely be enough to make Homer something something…