The title of the brand new album from aheadphonehome is “Dream Reverb” and it accurately describes what kind of world you’ll descend into when you hear it. This is music soaked in the kind of lo-fi heat that could only belong to a Brisbane band birthed from the lofly label. At the heart of all of these dreamscapes is one our towns finest Singer Songwriters Phil Laidlaw who uses his talents for constructing amazingly spacious melody lines to infect the rather minimal sounds with a degree of hushed explosion that leaves you totally immersed in blue sunshine.
The strength of this album is the way in which underneath all of the sonic experimentation there lays very simple pop songs. Without directing you to far from what this album sounds like I think it is important for me to highlight that I’m confident that you could strip away all of the sonic’s and you’d still have a wonderful collection of strummed acoustic folk songs that could stand alone on their own as examples of how music should be communicated directly to your soul.
This isn’t a collection of folk songs however; this is a movement of blissed out shiver pop rooted in the sonic mechanics established by genres like post-rock, electronica and of course shoegaze. It’s easy for anyone juggling these genres to slip into cliché but with “Dream Reverb” aheadphonehome have escaped cliché and let their own unique dialogue spill into the genre dynamics they are influenced by. This is a band without an agenda and who play because they have an intense emotional desire to communicate to the external world about all of their complex internal emotions.
An album like “Dream Reverb” is a rare commodity in 2014 in the sense that it borrows so heavily from the past but pushes sound and the idea of weird pop music deep into the future, it truly does go beyond fashion. This music sounds like it should be everywhere and inside everyone’s music players and distributed worldwide as an example of what we should broadcast to the aliens when they finally visit us. We can debate about the relevance of who is making the boldest and most forward thinking statements in our town and if you visit Lambda on a Thursday night you’ll probably be tricked into thinking that the young and the beautiful souls with their manicured sounds and vision are doing their best to push music into radical directions. Unfortunately they are doing nothing more than taking up space and becoming the face of the future “Who?” and for that we should be grateful because in the future people will remember a band like aheadphonehome more than what is current and modern.
The listening experience of “Dream Reverb” took me back the simple revolution of an “In Rainbows” era Radiohead or Tortoise when they informed us that millions of us living will never die. It is a place where the darkness of it all consumes but also leaves a satisfied smile on your face. I believe that aheadphonehome are good enough to take on the world and in 2014 I think it is important that we have more bands like aheadphonehome who are willing to bathe in mainstream obscurity in order to allow for their future legacy to be imprinted on the cultural lexicon.
No matter kind of future you find yourself stuck in or pining for, “Dream Reverb” is a perfect record and a true and pure listening experience. In 2014 that is the rare glimpse of hope that the true believers get, that maybe all of these underground heroes are our future saviours and the key to peace being restored to the galaxy.
Listen to the album here – https://aheadphonehome.bandcamp.com/album/dream-reverb
By: Dan Newton
The debut album from Roku Music is called “Collider” and it is a fantastic movement of music. I’ve enjoyed every inch of the listening experience and rejoiced at the wonderful escapism it provided. The hazy fuzz and washed out production instantly produces a diverse array of beautiful melancholy related feelings. This is a band who understand the power of navigating darkness in order to produce dramatic blissed out rock music. It’s the kind of album that just allows you to float deep inside yourself with an equal mix of hurt and heartache bouncing round and round your still existence.
I found the best listening experience to be while I was either lying flat on my back in a dark room with a good pair of headphones or late at night while I was driving my automobile. This is how I always choose to consume my music and it takes a great band and only the best music to be able to make me soothe and swoon. Regardless of your genre, music should be an exercise in an artist showing you their soul and with “Collider” despite the occasional obvious dynamic and stylistic tribute to all things Shoegaze, Roku Music are a band who mean it and whose sincerity allows for them to be beautifully authentic.
This brings me to the music contained within “Collider” – those who read this blog know I’m not a big fan of giving you the standard “song by song” review experience. I’ll leave that to the more “sponsored” types to bore you with. I’m much more interested in illustrating to you what this music made me feel.
So here I go – if I was to describe and review “Collider” by Roku Music to an alien who has just learnt about the complicated emotional intelligence attached to the unrequited frame attached to yearning and that “ache” that I talk about so frequently then my review would be as follows.
Sleep will always translate those female friends into lovers, the kind of mysterious hurt that is reserved for the secret unspoken love that cuts deeper than any sort of physical pain. These thoughts and that face, I wish I could sell or trade or just transplant the memory, but when I’m asleep I can translate all of those complicated secret entanglements and forays into a silent affair. These are the celebrated thoughts disguised in the noise of all the music that resonates with me. A beautiful release of music that mirrors that deep burning ache will always make me shiver even deeper in that hurt. The music will explode inside me and wrestle with and finally serenade all of the angst to a place of pure imagined relaxation. This kind of escape is reserved purely for the collections of fools who choose to devour the extreme sound experience and who reject music’s entertainment value. All of the music and sound that goes beyond being just fashion allows for your survival and provides you new ways to cope with daily oxygen consumption.
All the way down, that is where this music goes – right to the core of all that is tender and beautiful about your invisible wounds.
I can’t speak of Roku Music’s goals or agenda as a band, I can only speak of my own personal resonance and upon multiple listens of “Collider” this album has hit me directly in the “feels” as all those cutesy modern fashion fucks would say.
The album is called “Collider” and the band is Roku Music and they are releasing this album on the 3rd March 2014 (via Sonic Masala) and I reckon you’d be rather foolish to ignore this record – the first vital Brisbane record to be released this year.
By: Dan Newton
Facebook – www.facebook.com/rokumusic
Official Website – www.rokumusic.com
Roku Music are touring throughout Australia in March and April 2014 (see their website for details)
The debut song released by Airling is called “Ouroboros” and it has a melancholy sweetness that gently gives way to a dark swooned kind of humour. It is a song that is communicating all kinds of mysterious emotions like some kind of strange magic. There is definitely a broken heart somewhere inside this blissed out illustration of pure moody atmosphere and it’s like a dream that goes forever. This is a song framed by cinematic pulses and clearly shows how haunted Hannah Shepherd is because every word she sings no matter how grand or minimal sounds like a spooky symphony. The fragility of her performance is what makes this song such a strong piece of communication. It makes you think that somewhere deep inside Shepherd’s creative muse there lays a life time of hurt that is for the first time truly starting to break through in her music.
This is an artist worth investing in and I truly hope that she boycotts the redundancy of an EP and releases a full length movement of shiver pop classics like she has done with “Ouroboros“ – please black out the windows because this song will be your new nocturnal escapist soundtrack.
By: Dan Newton
Listen to the song via the following link – http://soundcloud.com/pieater/airling-ouroboros
Official Website: www.airling.net
I have waited for this album.
AHPH’s 2007 debut album “in the static” seems like a lifetime ago, blurred by the memory of Red Hill, an abandoned tyre factory and Hangar nights. That album was largely a solo effort by AHPH brainchild Phillip Laidlaw – a collage of seemingly impenetrable dense soundscapes that was grounded in the deft human touch of it’s author.
However this time around, Laidlaw has brought the band. Guitarist Pete Maclean, drummer Brendan Mawn and bass player Chris Perren (Mr Maps) take the sonic blueprint of “static” and run wild and wide with it. Pre release single “Hunters Compete” saw Laidlaw’s indie rock leanings front and centre, but the album casts its net far wider. “The Rattle” is the perfect opener – it is as if Laidlaw has pulled back the curtain to reveal the full band arrangement now at the controls, the song bathed in thick layers of tremolo and reverb. “Downward Runs” sways with krautrock propulsion before descending into a synth driven coda that would not sound out of place in a Buck Rogers remake. And “Think Music” could be the very definition of sonic disorientation – headphone music indeed!
Wait a second – can we talk about the guitars? Because like any great twin guitar attack – think Verlaine/Lloyd, or Koppes/Willson-Piper, or Malkmus/Stairs – the guitar lines circle and snake each other, seemingly eyeing each other off before launching unprovoked vicious attacks, only to retreat quietly to their corners. This is no more apparent than on “Journey To A”, a song that first came into my consciousness via AHPH’s solo outing at the Beer And Loathing gig at the Troubadour (now Black Bear Lodge) way back in 2007 – well, that’s my recollection anyway. I’m glad this song now exists outside of my somewhat dubious memory….
I greedily inhaled this album upon release and listened to little else for a week afterwards, then put it aside for a couple of weeks. I possibly over did it. When I came back to it, I was startled by the finer details that I’d missed first time around. Yes, it’s that kind of album – it will pull you in, let you go, but it’s grip will be a little tighter every time you come back to it.
The first vital Brisbane release of 2014.
Dive in and swim
by Curt Emerton
“Think” Music video: