Full disclosure here: I’m a winter person. I like fireplaces. I like dark ale. I like not having to put up with the awful sound of thongs against concrete. So bear this fact in mind while I take you through the third installment of Feral Media’s amazing Seasons series of EP’s, the latest being – yep, you guessed it – the Summer EP featuring Bon Chat Bon Rat, The Townhouses, friendships and Tim Fitz.
Opening the four track exploration of the sights, sounds and emotions of the ghost of Summer past is Bon Chat Bon Rat with a cover of the legendary INXS’s Don’t Change. It’s okay though, pub rock is cool again – we’re no longer allowed to scoff and laugh when someone picks a Chisel song from the jukebox at the Brighton Hotel. If you’re familiar with BCBR’s smooth, polished delivery of music you could almost dance to, I shouldn’t need to say that this is a very different imagining of the piece – perhaps so much so that it doesn’t even matter that it’s a cover, bearing no resemblance (that I can garner) to the original other than the lyrics. Its unrelenting, synthesised loop and the weak percussion makes this track pretty standard fare in terms of contemporary electronic music. While it’s by no means a disappointing start to the EP, it didn’t grab me in the same way that Tim Shiel’s piece did on the previous EP.
Track two, however, brings us right back to that Spring EP feel – we open on an acoustic guitar, lazily picked over an indefinable ambient whirring. Beautiful ‘ahhh ahh ahhhhhh’ backing vocals and stream of conscious lyrics seem to roll out of the music here too, toeing that line between pretentious sparsity and hollow beauty that Feral Media navigates so expertly. For a six minute track, Magpie seems to wander and loll around for the first four minutes before really finding a beat – and when it does it really makes the fact that you sat through an electronic INXS cover worthwile. It’s Leigh Hannah’s solo project The Townhouses that brought you this one, the artist having just released this track plus two others on a (sold out) cassingle release, available from The Townhouses Bandcamp page.
Artsy weirdos and Happy favourites friendships donated track three to the EP. My Luv Is Bad 4 U is a club banger from a dystopian conservative future where all nightclubs are banned from the land altogether, relegating dancefloors everywhere to a set of traveling undersea submarine venues. If the goal of the EP is to look back at and encapsulate the Summer past, this one does it nigh on perfectly. Even though I’ve only been to a club that played jungle once (and that was in Berlin), the amphetamine beats and the distant vocals instantly take you back to memories of wandering around clubs, trying to find your mates, trying to find that girl you were dancing with, trying to find the phone you lost or trying to find your mate Molly. My Luv is without a doubt the highlight of the EP because it nails down exactly what hot summer nights are like, especially those hot summer Friday nights right after payday. Again, friendships position themselves as masters of oscillator knobs and decay settings – read what we thought of their release I’m An Impressionist, You’re Dumb: A Collection of Bass Tracks right here and give it a listen yourself at their bandcamp.
The back cover of this EP is Tim Fitz, a self described multi-instrumental bedroom bandit and someone whose music comes across as unpretentious, genuine, friendly and culturally insightful. His songs are connected to the city he lives in, poetically describing what he sees, what he experiences and essentially who we all are because of where we live. His song No Rooms Tonight is an exploration of the cultural summer of Australia – a vague narrative of a despondently observed night out at a location I can’t quite figure out. Is it a camping festival? A house party? The motel from Bottle Rocket? Anyway, there are some good lyrical hooks – the biblical allusions to Judas and later to Goliath in “Goliath joined me on a bench by the beach… He had been running since his great defeat – He was drinking from a flask of Johnny – And he thought everything I said was funny” and the hilariously accurate one liner “No sleep tonight for the goonsack girls”. It’s a good song, but No Rooms Tonight sums up where this installment of Seasons falls down.
I feel like each of the songs here, bar friendships’ My Luv, took the brief too literally. What captured me when listening to the Spring EP was that the tracks evoked feelings of rebirth, growth, bushfires, rainy weather and all those things about Spring without having to literally talk about Spring in the lyrics. Tim Shiel’s brilliant General Practice is infinitely textural, conjuring sights and smells of red brick walls wet with September rains – Pimmon’s hectic percussion on Ytterbium forming a disarming soundtrack to bushfire season. Keep in mind how I opened the article. I’m a Winter person, and as such I think that the Summer in general is a time for the shallow, the insipid and the uninspired. Regardless of personal opinion, the EP is still a collection of three great songs and an INXS cover, well worth a good listen, especially for Fitz’s brilliant lyricisms and the awesomeness of friendships’ beats. The EP is available to download from the Feral Media Bandcamp, and while you’re there, definitely take the time to look back in time at the Spring and Winter EP’s.
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