Tag Archives: Melbourne

A Brief Introduction to Melbourne’s Jazz and Soul Scene

Audrey Powne

Brownswood’s new compilation Sunny Side Up serves two purposes. First, it acts as a showcase for Melbourne, Australia’s burgeoning jazz scene. But, more tantalizingly, it also serves as a kind of musical map, documenting the way the musicians within the scene are connected to one another.

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Melbourne’s Electronic Moment

Rings Around Saturn

Rings Around Saturn.

Miles away from the bubbling electronic music hubs of northern hemisphere cities like Berlin, Lisbon, and London, producers, DJs, and musicians in Melbourne, Australia have begun forging an underground scene of their own—one healthy enough to support illegal park parties, a small network of sweat-soaked basement clubs, and a wide range of left-field sounds. Continue reading

RVG’s Mercy-Driven Songs Channel Echo & the Bunnymen and The Go-Betweens

RVG

Photo by Ian Laidlaw.

A Quality of Mercy is the debut album from Melbourne band RVG—an acronym for “Romy Vager Group,” honoring namesake singer-songwriter, Romy Vager. The album was self-released quietly in early 2017, and is full of songs that are imaginative, passionate, and witty. Sometimes they’re sad and raw, too. But at their core, all of the songs—which are inspired by bands like Echo and The Bunnymen and The Go-Betweens—are about mercy. The both capture and challenge what it means to be alive in 2017.

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The Do Yo Thangs Premiere the ’90s R&B-Referencing “One Plus One”

The Do Ya Thangs
Photo by Emma Matsuda

You wouldn’t think of Melbourne, Australia as a hub for neo-soul, but over the past few years, it’s become a go-to place for listeners looking to revisit the late ’90s/early 2000s era of hip-hop-infused R&B music. Alt-soul group Hiatus Kaiyote is perhaps the biggest act to emerge from the area recently, yet musicians like Stella Angelico, The Harpoons and Mojo Juju are also laying claim to Australia’s soul scene.

Next in line are the Do Yo Thangs, the duo of songwriter/singer Hugh Rabinovici and vocalist Audrey Powne. The two met at jazz school, and bonded over a shared love of net-soul virtuoso Erykah Badu. They formed the Do Yo Thangs before they graduated.
Today, Bandcamp premieres the video for the lead single and title track from the group’s forthcoming EP, which will be released Sept. 9. As the band describes it, “One Plus One” is “equal parts performance and programming, drawing from a broad palette of live instruments and electronic sounds.” Rabinovici and Powne swap lead vocal duties, with support from harmony singers Maddie Otto and Tiaryn Griggs.

Before moving over to drums, Rabinovici played piano as a child. Since then he’s played the cello, worked in Scottish Pipe bands, taught himself guitar and studied Carnatic music in South India. We spoke with Rabinovici about the song, and the band’s creative direction.
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Tracy McNeil’s North American Sound Settles in Australia

Tracy McNeil

Canadian singer-songwriter Tracy McNeil has journeyed far from home the past eight years, settling eventually in Melbourne, Australia. Her accent reflects that shuffling: her voice is a blend of drawn-out Canadian vowels and traces of an Australian lilt, resulting in a curious sound all her own. Like her voice, McNeil’s roots-driven blend of rock and folk-pop also defies easy categorization. Thanks to her travels and her curious ear, McNeil’s songs are host to a multitude of musical and geographic influences, all of them grounded in a kind of rustic Americana.

Her fourth album, Thieves, nods to the Laurel Canyon sound—which is all the more striking given the distance that exists between Melbourne and southern California. In drawing on that tradition, she does what so many musicians have done before her, using it to clarify her own voice. Thieves is McNeil’s most mature and personal album to date; she wrote much of it after spending time with her father during the last three months of his life. The resulting music takes chances with longer songs that breathe both musically and lyrically, traversing terrain that explores spatial, temporal and emotional distances.

With a 14-hour time difference between Australia and the eastern United States, McNeil took some time before heading off to her job as a high school drama and music teacher to speak with Bandcamp about Thieves and the journeys that shaped its arrival.

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