Andy Bull's Seal Of Approval
The Sydney producer/songwriter offers five of his favourite Aussie artists.
Andy Bull's Talk Too Much Tour kicks off Thursday 15 April, and through a combination of a passion for wordplay and talking about this country's exciting up-and-coming and established artists, we asked him who some of his favourite young Australian acts. Given he's been a part of the Aussie music scene for almost a decade (culminating in last year's Sea Of Approval album), he knows what it's like to be someone just starting out, on the cusp of bigger things and more. Check the Talk Too Much Tour dates once you've learned up on a few artists who get Andy Bull's "Seal Of Approval".
This boy/girl duo from Sydney are quite newly formed, but have a deft handle on idiosyncratic pop music with really cool sounds and arrangements. Anj has a this elegant, naturally cool tone to her singing voice and an ear for lush synth chords and Dave, who I think handles most of the other production elements, has a talent for grooves and instrumental lines that pull you along in a hypnotic way. To my ears, queues are taken from the funkier end of 80s new wave (like ABC); 90s R&B via 80s new wave (think Mariah sampling Tom Tom Club); and brought to life with a more 2000-teens production complexity (something like AlunaGeorge with guitar lines maybe?). I don’t know, comparisons are lame… Check out their song Elasticity, which I think is their strongest effort yet [It's not out yet, here's Circles instead]:
His last album Twirligig is pretty genius; made of warm and surprising textures and looping, swinging, rhythms, somewhere between nostalgic and futuristic. His process is pretty crazy too - it’s all self-played and produced, and with his trusty Moog Opus synthesizer (a rare, magical, modulating beast) he recreates pieces of orchestrated records giving them a kind of parallel-universe feel. With a palette of Beach-Boys-y harmonies, and Dilla-esque beats that spring, flamp, womp and crackle, Jonti is, as a dude is your archetypal gentle/gently-mad genius. It’s good humoured, very uplifting stuff that seems to just leap out of the speaker at you, and obviously legendary LA label Stones Throw agree. To think a kid from my neck of the woods would end up the first and only Australian on the label started by Peanut Butter Wolf and home to Madlib et al, is pretty cool. Recently Jonti got together with the collective Astral People, who recreated the Avalanche’s album, live, at the Sydney Opera House, to rave reviews.
Gab Strum AKA Japanese Wallpaper is already doing cool things and hasn’t finished high school yet. Mellow electronica sort of stuff with a good spirit. Gab is humble and bright and, if he so chooses, has a long future ahead in music, both within the Japanese Wallpaper moniker and beyond it.
Similarly to Gab, Tkay is another natural artist who I think has a big future; she’s fun, and she’s dynamite on stage; she’s also a young lady with humility and class. Tkay did a great job at Laneway recently and I think people were cottoning on.
I met the nascent version of Spookyland about 5 years ago when we played together to an empty room in Newcastle. I love Marcus’ very unique voice, lyrics, and songwriting. I really think he’s a singular talent, and currently refreshingly against-the-fashion, coming from a tradition of Americana and alt-country. I got myself their newest EP recently, and although it’s all arranged with strong, traditional melody and structure, it’s subtly very dark, fatalistic stuff. In a way, that destitute Newcastle gig turned out to be a fitting backdrop in all its baron hopelessness, and I’d wager that if songs like The Silly Fucking Thing and its accompanying video don’t make you personally disquieted, unnerved by suburban dusks, disturbed by the notion of romantic attachment, and basically afraid of being alone in your own company, then you and your friends won’t struggle to enjoy this.