Music Opinion

Summer music vibes to relieve end of year madness

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(Screenshot via YouTube)

As we near the end of 2023 and find our lives busier than ever, IA's music guru David Kowalski is here with a soundtrack to amplify the fun of your weekend.

I AM IN the thick of the end-of-year madness that is November and as such, here are a few more new local tunes to soundtrack your day and round out Australian Music Month for 2023.

Surf Trash — 'Seek The Silence'

Newcastle NSW-based alt-rockers Surf Trash have landed on the shore with a new track, ‘Seek The Silence’. Evocative of a rolling swell and sea breezes, the track is a moody ode to switching off the world and seeking some inner peace, whether that’s the thoughts in one’s own head or absolutely nothing at all.

Bassist Nick Scott says in the band’s Spotify bio:

‘Silence can be louder and more powerful then (sic) noise. When things get to (sic) much sometimes listening to absolutely nothing and your own voice inside your head can give you all the answers you need.’

Surf Trash played a sold-out Australian tour in January 2023 and is currently crossing the USA and Canada as support to Californian band Sun Room.

Nic Dalton — 'I Don’t Have a Team'

Former Sydney bookstore owner and progenitor of the Half a Cow record label, Nic Dalton has been making music with various bands including The Plunderers, The Love Positions, Sneeze and Godstar since the late 1980s.

Dalton's style of rough-hewn, DIY indie pop has fascinated me for years and on his latest release he has summed up the confusion and anxiety that comes with grand finals footy that a lot of people feel. I hesitate to call the phenomenon “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out) if one genuinely has no affection for football, but it’s hard to be part of a party when you don’t share the affection for that which is being celebrated.

On this quasi-autobiographical ditty, Dalton openly discusses the feeling of being on the outer in social situations, particularly when it comes to conversations about sport around a barbeque.

Ivar & Tommy Go To Hollywood — 'I Poke Bears'

So anyway, an email from Bandcamp appeared in my email last week announcing the release of a song called ‘I Poke Bears’ by an outfit called Ivar and Tommy Go To Hollywood. The band name is an obvious nod to the '80s band from Liverpool England called Frankie Goes to Hollywood, but the bio of the release offers little illumination as to who this band is and who it consists of.

The bio for the single merely states:

‘When you have a real good friend. When you both love music. When you both like getting drunk too much. When you both hate to practice. When you both love to just make a song and record it in the middle of the night. When you can’t wait to do it again. That’s when Ivar and Tommy talk about going to Hollywood.’

I’m none the wiser. This sounds like it was probably recorded in a bedroom studio. They may not even be Australian, despite the fact this is released via the aforementioned local label, Half a Cow records. What I can tell you is that this little slacker-pop ditty is a fun piece about boredom busting, by stirring the pot and starting trouble. Whoever they are, I want to hear more from them.

RAAVE TAPES — 'Goodbye'

Hailing from the Hunter Region of NSW comes the rather unique musical vision that is RAAVE TAPES. A few years back, they stirred up some nostalgia with a very clever video for their single k bye, which parodied a show that was iconic for a generation of Australian kids, The Saddle Club. On their latest track, entitled ‘Goodbye’, the band has shed a couple of members and is now a duo. They have added a lot more electro-pop to their mix, dressing this unabashed pop gem in autotuned vocals and layers of dreamy synths.

And of course, they have created another brilliant video for the track, shot at sunset in a helicopter, as you do…

Sunscreen — 'Drain'

I think Sydney band Sunscreen probably likes a bit of minimalism. Their bio simply states: ‘A band from Sydney. Alex and Sarah.’ I guess that’s all you need to say when you make music this powerfully evocative. Since then, they have fleshed out the lineup to a full band, but their sound still has elements of vintage New Order, Cocteau Twins and The War on Drugs.

Sarah’s emotive voice just aches with longing pathos. The band characterises this song as ‘this notion of shedding one’s skin and breaking free from expectation’. Watching the remnants of what is being left behind going down the... well, it’s in the title, isn’t it? This is a piece of finery that is well worth a listen.

Until next time...


David Kowalski is a writer, musician, educator, sound engineer and podcaster. His podcasts 'The Sound and the Fury Podcast' and 'Audio Cumulus' can be heard exclusively here. You can follow David on Twitter @sound_fury_pod.

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