Entries Tagged as ''

CMC Wednesday @ Smiths, 12 Nov 2014

Obscura Hail, Tom Woodward, Rueben Ingall
by James Kent

As one of only a few electronic artists in Canberra, and the only one I see playing around the traps regularly, Reuben Ingall is a lone wolf, both in the Canberra music scene and on stage. Producing an intriguing mix of shoegazing soundscapes, pensive beats, and experimental electronic glitch guitar, Ingall’s music isn’t for everyone; but sitting there I couldn’t help but be enveloped by the wall of sound coming from the host of electronic toys he had up on stage; one of which I should add, was a hot pink hello kitty themed electric guitar. To my mind at least, Ingall seems to be aiming for the genre of synth looping electronica brought to the edges of mainstream by American bands like the Books, or locally by Sydney producers like Seekae and Stackhat. This is a venture not entirely without success, particularly if you’re listening along on Bandcamp. In person however, I can’t help but feel there’s something missing, whether it’s an extra layer of sound, an accompanying band member, or even just the confidence to make full use of his voice, which is undeniably suited to the genre he calls home.

After a somewhat sombre beginning to the evening, there was a mild sense of auditory whiplash as Tom Woodward took to the stage, bringing his unique brand of swampy white guy roots with him. Rumoured to make his living purely off the back of gigs and busking, Tom is clearly a talented musician, with a dextrously plucky style of guitar and a personal charm that had me hooked from the get go, easily pulling the audience out of their electronica induced funk and into a frame of mind where boot tapping was a compulsory pleasure.

When Obscura Hail first took to the stage, clad from head to toe in black and with a mop of hair that lent him more than a passing resemblance to Cousin Itt of the Adams family, he cut an incongruously gothic figure. And I Say incongruous, because he turned out to sing almost Ben Lee-esque saccharine folk, complete with a love song dedicated to his mum, and, in a final act of mindfuckery, a cover of Kiss Me, by Sixpence None the Richer. Despite the fact that he disappeared behind a curtain of hair barely two songs into his set, Hail was an unexpected pleasure, with a bountiful set list of tracks and a vibe that reminded me strongly of The Shins.

Smith’s Alternative – 8th Oct, 2014

CMC Wednesday @ Smith’s – Darling Mermaid Darlings, Dylan Hekimian,  Alex and Joel
by James Kent

I always feel sorry for the bands that play Smiths on acoustic soup night, because for one night a month the food coop is turned into a veritable black hole that sucks in all the bearded hipster types for miles around, leaving venues like Smiths sadly bereft of both punters and ironically moustachioed arguments over which Jack Kerouac poem is the best (trick question! The answer is always Howl). This is most unfortunate because it means little heard gems like Darling Mermaid Darlings remain hidden. A side project of Pocket Fox lead vocalist Luciana Harrison, DMD heads in a more sultry direction than pocket fox, with songs like On the Prowl and Like a Woman positively dripping with sex appeal and demonstrating vocal and musical talent which can sometimes be lost amongst the Pocket Fox hubhub.

Ever the judgemental type, when Dylan Hekimian took to the stage after DMD in all his dreadlocked and industrially pierced glory I pegged him as one of those barefooted john butler rip-offs who corners you at a party and won’t (for the love of god) shut up about their life changing acid trip and burning man last year. Fortunately for all of us, this was a judgement proven wrong fairly quickly, not leastwise because he was wearing shoes. Dylan is easily the most talented percussive guitarist I’ve seen live, with a unique voice and style that’s well suited to the musical direction he’s heading in. My only possible bone to pick is that sometimes the percussive element can distract from the fact that he is clearly an excellent guitarist of the regular variety as well, and certainly one I’d be happy to see again.

The final act of the evening was the ever understated Alex and Joel, a creatively named local guitar/cello duo who, while not making a name for themselves in a literal sense, certainly seem to be doing so in a figurative sense, with a flawless combination of cello and Xavier Rudd style guitar, which definitely isn’t harmed by the fact that they could also be joint mayors of Babe-town (Disclaimer: not a real town). Try as I might, I can’t find a bad thing to say about these guys, because apparently distractingly good looking doesn’t count, and I sure as hell can’t fault their music, with their song I’ll be Fine one of my favourites in particular. With an EP release date set for the 21st of November this year, this is definitely a band worth checking out.