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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Beach Snaps.

I recently got to spend some time at the lovely beach town of Barwon Heads.  The weather was lovely, so I dusted off my old faithful Canon 550D and headed towards the beach.
Here are some of the many photos that I took:

I love capturing sunlight and working with interesting light.

I also love photographing different textures... And this wooden wall definitely caught my eye!

And a shadow seflie never goes astray!

So although it's currently the middle of Winter here, I got to make the most of the gorgeous weather and amazing scenery to wile away a few hours. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Glass Towers brings Halcyon Days.

The long awaited debut LP from Sydney band Glass Towers has finally reached the ears of eager listeners, and it does not disappoint.  Halcyon Days combines the catchy drum beats, great bass lines and screaming guitars that Glass Towers has become known for.  With three relatively successful singles being released prior to the record's release, the hype was well and truly there for this indie-rock LP.

The first track on the record "In This City," is a great start to the record.  It's full-on, fast-paced and foot-tapping, and definitely draws the listener in.  The chorus has great vocal harmony lines, and the track ends with the stereotypical abrupt Glass Towers ending.

"Castles" has a sense of urgency to it, and the fast drum beat gives it a more punk feel.  This track also includes the squealing guitars that are scattered through most of the songs on this album.

"Jumanji" was the first single released off this album back in February 2012.  This track has a more tribal feel - reminiscent of Jinja Safari - during the verses, but packs a punch in the chorus, with a call-and-answer style vocal.  It's one of the less layered songs on the record, but it works really well.

"Tonight" was the second single released off the album, and is one of the standouts on this record. It's just so unbelievably catchy; it gets you in in a second.  The guitar riff, the bass line and the melody will be in your head for days without you getting sick of them.  The lyrical content is also really relatable.  This song is sing-a-long material, perfect for belting out as you're driving along.  For me, this was the song that alerted me to the amazing music of Glass Towers,  I found myself singing along whilst driving, and knew these guys were worth listening to over and over.

"Gloom" is slightly different to the rest of the tracks on the album.  It has a more dreamy style, with just the right amount of vocal editing, almost reminiscent of Tame Impala. 

Another standout off the record is "Halcyon." As the single released immediately prior to the record, it really does set the tone for what's in store on Halcyon Days.  Again, it has a lovely bass line, catchy drums and some great falsetto.  What makes this song stand out though, is the use of pauses and silence throughout the song, it just adds an extra element that keeps the listener on their toes.  But overall it's just a lovely fun indie rock track to sing a long to.

Glass Towers bring a more moody tone to the record with "Lust For Life."  This track has an almost Panic At The Disco! vibe, both vocal and musical wise.

"You're Better" brings the pace down a bit.  The instrumentation isn't as full on, but in a good way.  That is until you hit the chorus, which brings a soundscape of noise.

"Griffin" runs along the same lines as "Tonight," and is everything that Glass Towers is known for: fast drums, catchy guitar riffs sing-a-long chorus.  The vocal on this is also really interesting with lots of interval jumps throughout the song.

The second last track on the record, "Best Of Friends" hits you with drums as soon as it starts, and draws you in.  This drum and bass heavy song also has great lyrics.

The final track on the record, "Foreign Time" is a slower more reflective track, with deeper lyrics than the more acoustic sound lets on.  There are also some lovely piano lines throughout the song.  A perfect choice for the closing track.

Glass Towers have really carved out a great representation of themselves with this record.  They show influences from many people, but their own style shines through.  The fast drum beats of Daniel Muszynski, catchy bass lines of Cameron Holdstock and squealing guitars of Sam Speck are present throughout, as are the lovely (and at times haunting) vocals of Ben Hannam.  

Halcyon Days is a record that has captures your attention in seconds and has you listening for hours.  These guys are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

You can stream/buy Halcyon Days here:

You can find Glass Towers here:

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The wonder of Woodlock.

I've been lucky enough to stumble upon the lovely boys from Woodlock performing twice while I've been in Melbourne, and both times they've had huge crowds.  No other busker in the busy Bourke Street mall could compete with the quietly confident boys from Woodlock, who thanked each person who bought their EP mid song, as well as warning the crowd to move off the tram tracks when there was a tram coming.  They let their music do the talking, and it speaks to so many people; I saw the very young and the very old enjoying every moment of the music.

With melodies and harmonies similar to that of Mumford and Sons and falsetto reminiscent of The Temper Trap, they are certainly a band to watch!  Their set contains many originals that you will be humming all day long as well as covers of some of the biggest songs at the moment.  Many bands wouldn't dare cover songs like "Resolution" by Matt Corby, "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk or "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia, but Eze and Zech Walters and Bowen Purcell do so with ease, reinvigorating these songs with their indie folk vibe.

Their live performance is like no other.  First of all there is a drum setup like none I've ever seen before, but also you can just see the joy on all of their faces, and that makes you love their music as much as they love it.  It seemed people only had to listen for a couple of minutes before they bought an EP, proof that they are good at what they do.  These guys aren't just buskers, they are musicians... No question about it.

The EP Lemons which features four folk/indie pop songs, has lovely melodies and harmonies, and really thoughtful lyrics. Even the title track "Lemons" which seems like just a fun song, is about "people who've gone sour" says Zech Walters.

For me, all the songs on the EP are great, easy to listen to and catchy, but the standout is "Lemons."  This track is just so infectious and joyous and the vocal loop that runs throughout the song is impossible to not sing for hours afterwards.  The drum beat, especially towards the end is also incredibly catchy, and live both Zech and Bowen play this part, which is quite exciting to see.

"The Last of Us," although slower than "Lemons" is such a beautiful song, with such lovely lyrics.  On the EP it also has a string arrangement to die for, and an instrumental passage which most bands don't do anymore.  It's the same with "Blood Brothers;" the lyrics tell a real story.

Eze Walters voice is reminiscent of that of Marcus Mumford from Mumford and Sons and Caleb Hodges of Art Of Sleeping, and combined with the more contemporary vocals of Zech, makes for beautiful harmonies.  And just when you thought they were talented enough, they swap from guitar to keyboards, to probably any other instrument you could name!  Bowen, with his crazy drum setup, has to be the most joyous drummer I've seen!  He honestly makes you happy, just by watching him.

These guys are beyond their years as far as storytelling and writing music is concerned, and are well worth a listen or hundred.

You can find them here: