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We run a radio station. Traditionally, couldn’t care less about video releases. Sorry, but it’s true. But then… one of our favorite bands polishes up one of their recent classics, and makes a video for it. And the whole studio starts to buzz. This is certainly the case with Melbourne’s Arbes, who released one of the sparkling EPs of last year, and the song that cracked #15 on our Top Tracks of 2016 chart. “Sun On My Back” is one of those perennial summer songs that’s difficult not to adore.

In a world full of DIIV knockoffs (and outright parodies), this awkward anthem is everything you could want guitar-based dream pop to evolve into. Sam Pannifex lays down the angular, even mathy guitar riffs, while Jess Zanoni overlays all with a vocal line with warmth and precision. That they’ve configured a hook-laden follow-up to 2015’s “45” should be no surprise. This summer groove didn’t just evolve in L.A., or even Brooklyn. Melbourne doesn’t need schooling on how to bring the sparkly summer vibe. Arbes has been doing it for years now.

Find and follow Arbes via Bandcamp, YouTube, Facebook, Soundcloud and Twitter. If you’ve missed, you’ve been missing out.

We’ve been stalking Melbourne’s hazy Crimsonettes for six months now. Early Soundcloud posts let us know there was something sparkly going on here, and all we had to do was wait for an official release date. We even begged for a pre-release track to push on air, which they graciously allowed for. Now they’ve finally released the EP they’ve promised, and it’s a stunner. Sickly Sweet EP released to Bandcamp on October 29th, and allows for no filler. Our closest reference point to this sonic swell is classic Waldo & Marsha, or perhaps Slowdive with stronger lead lines. Part dream-pop wash, part hazy shoegaze, with hints of neo-psych, all are wrapped up in a strong pop sensibility. Both male and female vocals round out the presentation, sometimes separated, sometimes forming a sugar-drenched chorus.

 

Each Crimsonettes track unfolds at its own pace, usually beginning quietly, mildly, then building to massive walls of melody and sound. The title track alone is a great example of the technique, and the blueprint for all that comes after. This music isn’t intended to challenge you, so much as draw you in and envelop you. For a debut EP, Sickly Sweet is pretty much everything we’d counted on. Expect this to crack more than a few end-of-year Top Ten lists.

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Stalk Crimsonettes on Facebook and Twitter, and purchase “Sickly Sweet EP” on Bandcamp now. No, not later, now. As close to nowish as possible.

Part Two in a series… Melbourne, Australia hosts the event of the year in Roogaze 2015, featuring the best and the brightest in the Australian shoegaze and dream pop scenes. We dug for answers about this incredible event, and got responses from Blush Response, Luna Ghost, Day Ravies, and Bloodhounds on My Trail. If you’ve heard of every one of these bands, it may be because they’re heavy rotation staples on our air, and probably in your hearts as well. Missed our first installment? Check it here.


DKFM: How did you get involved in this incredible festival?

Sam, Day Ravies: The event has been organised by Gabe from Lowtide. Day Ravies and Lowtide have played a bunch of shows together, all of them have been quite memorable nights. We were lucky to be invited by Gabe.
Chris, Luna Ghost: There was an open discussion among band members about putting on a similar gig to a recent Jesus and Mary Chain tribute started by Jack from Contrast, and me being a smart ass self-nominated my band to jumped on board! Then everyone gave their two cents with the organisation and it went from there.
Bloodhounds on My Trail: Well credit has to go to Jack of Contrast for getting the ball rolling. We were asked to play a set as part of a JAMC tribute show so we promoted on FB. The Crook suggested we local shoegazers should organise our on tribute night to The Cure. A whole bunch of Melbourne gaze bands then put their hands up and so the idea was formed. Gabe from Lowtide then got his teeth sunk it to it and it evolved into the massive line up it is involving interstate bands as well. We are thrilled to be a part of it.
Alister, Blush Response: I paid a small fortune for a guy to sneak into Gabe’s (Lowtide) room while he slept and whisper “ask Blush Response to play Roogaze 2015” in his ear, every night for a month.

DKFM: Have you ever been involved in a shoegaze-specific event of this size?

Chris, Luna Ghost: We’ve played a few gaze specific shows around, especially recently, but not to this size. Melbourne is a great place for like minded bands to get together and put on shows. This one looks to be one of the best shoegaze lineups we’ve been a part of for sure.
Alister, Blush Response: I pose a counter question: Has a shoegaze event of this size ever occurred? I’d wager my tremolo arm that, no, this is the biggest. Ever.
Sam, Day Ravies: No, I can’t say we’ve ever been involved in an event of this kind of theme.
Bloodhounds on My Trail: Not at all. We’ve played that JAMC tribute which had a good long line up of bands but wasn’t really gaze. I’m hoping this could be a yearly thing!

DKFM: Are you familiar with the other bands on the bill, and who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Alister, Blush Response: Definitely. Is ‘everyone’ an acceptable answer? No? Ok. Kigo and Bloodhounds on my Trail. Very keen.
Sam, Day Ravies: Yeah, I’m most looking forward to Contrast, Miners (I see them all the time but never get sick of them) and Lowtide who always rip live.
Bloodhounds on My Trail: Everyone! Of course. It’s a lineup that we’d be excited about even if we weren’t playing at. I’m gonna say Miners, Blush Response & kigo since I’ve not seem before.
Chris, Luna Ghost: Our band has played with most of the local bands on the bill a fair bit, we always love playing with Contrast, Bloodhounds On My Trail, Miniatures, Hideous Towns. I am especially keen to play with Lowtide, as we’ve never shared the bill with them and really love their music. I’m also pretty excited to see some of the interstate acts (Day Ravies, Miners, Blush Response and kigo).

DKFM: Do you think it’s possible to pull off an event of this scale again?

Bloodhounds on My Trail: I really do hope we can do it every year. Even if it’s all self indulgence haha.
Sam, Day Ravies: Surely, Melbourne is the right place for it.
Chris, Luna Ghost: For sure. It’s great to get together and put on things like this. There’s even a few more acts that could’ve been added to the bill (eg. Crimsonettes, Lunaire, Flyying Colours who i think are out of town) so there’s always demand for these kind of shows especially around here.
Alister, Blush Response: Never again. That’s why everyone should definitely come to this gig.

DKFM: Do you realize that fans around the world are right now looking at Australia, and talking about THIS event? How does that make you feel?

Sam, Day Ravies: I hadn’t thought about it like that at all, Certainly is exciting.
Chris, Luna Ghost: That’s pretty great to know. I feel particularly lucky to be in Melbourne with all these great acts. There’s no ego and we all love each other’s music. Any week we can go and watch one another’s band play around for cheap so it’s pretty much a big community now. It’s quite humbling to know there’s even attention outside of Melbourne let alone worldwide!
Bloodhounds on My Trail: We know we’re part of a special lineup. It funny living here you almost forget how many great Aussie gaze bands there are right now until you see the lineup, get excited that every band on it is awesome and finally realise it’s all Aussie! Puts it into context. We are greatful to be a part of it. And by all means any crazy gaze fans that wanna come to this from overseas, I gotta couple of spare rooms 🙂
Alister, Blush Response: Well, uh, nervous now that you’ve said that..

Check out the Facebook event page for this epic festival known as Roogaze 2015 here. Then lend us a thesaurus so we can find another good word for “epic”. Thanks.

What began as a simple idea of a few shoegaze and dream pop bands coming together to do a tribute to The Cure (shortly after Robert Smith’s birthday, no less) evolved as a premise. What had been a tribute show in a small venue became a much more ambitious festival, showcasing the talents of the genre’s best bands. Jack from Contrast originally pitched the idea to like-minded musicians, and now Gabriel Lewis of critical favorites Lowtide has built a sprawling bill that looks to be the biggest collection of talent since Part Time Punks’ Shoegaze Festival in LA three years ago. We caught up with a few of the principals from Lowtide, Miniatures and Hideous Towns in this, our first-in-a-series spotlight on what is now known as Roogaze 2015 on May 9th in Melbourne, Australia.


DKFM: How did you get involved in this incredible festival?

Gabriel Lewis, Lowtide: This show is the result of two gig ideas merging. One was for a smaller tribute night (hence the sub-heading on the artwork – there may be covers but it’s no longer an essential thing to do, although I think all bands are still trying to learn songs) which got the ball rolling, and I’ve always wanted to put on a big show given how many bands were popping up. I felt they really needed a way to celebrate what a rich, and supportive scene there is here with some kind of showcase.
Chris MacLean, Hideous Towns: Jack from Contrast came up with the initial idea after missing a similar style gig while he was overseas. There was a ridiculous level of interest immediately within the Melbourne band circle, so I guess we were just there at the right time along with everyone else, so psyched about being a part of it!!
Ché Walden, Miniatures: The idea was initially thrown about on Facebook and we immediately jumped aboard the hype train, I guess we were lucky enough to get in early!

DKFM: Have you ever been involved in a shoegaze-specific event of this size?

Chris MacLean, Hideous Towns: Not at all. We’ve had the pleasure of playing with all of the Melbourne bands on this lineup but never in one huge show so this is super badass. The fact that a bunch of interstate bands that are absolutely killing it are involved as well just makes it all the more exciting.
Ché Walden, Miniatures: There was a similar event a few months back for Australia Day, insofar as it was a bunch of psych/gazey bands playing for most of an afternoon and night. This however feels like the first to our knowledge to be really organised by the bands and, to be honest, for the bands.
Gabriel Lewis, Lowtide: Not at all. Locally, shows are usually more genre blended for better attendance. I’m hoping that a narrower focused field will be able put a bigger spotlight on the scene. I wanted to hold a mirror up to the bands and say, “Look how amazing you are. You should be proud!”. I’m convinced that the strength of the lineup alone can get a great turnout.

DKFM: Are you familiar with the other bands on the bill, and who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Ché Walden, Miniatures:  It’s crazy, we love every other band on the bill and have played with a few of them many times before. It’s actually becoming a bit of a circle jerk in places. Chris our bassplayer is the guitarist from Hideous Towns, Jack from Contrast is filling in with Luna Ghost, I’ve also started playing bass for Bloodhounds on my Trail.  Lots of people are kinda pulling double duty now and we love it. I feel like if we had anything as cruel as the UK music press from the 90’s paying attention to us, they’d be tearing us apart! Personally I’m stoked about Day Ravies making it down for the show, although it’s gonna be great to see Kigo live for the first time.
Chris MacLean, Hideous Towns: Yeah for sure, this list forms the majority of my favourite Australian acts of the last couple of years. I’m not as familiar with Miners as most of the others so really pumped to see them, as well as Blush Response and kigo who I haven’t seen live before.
Gabriel Lewis, Lowtide: I’ve seen all the bands except Blush Response, so am especially excited to see them. I’ll definitely be excited to see all the interstate bands playing in the same room. I’m amazed it was all able to fall together like this!

 

DKFM: Do you think it’s possible to pull off an event like this again?

Chris MacLean, Hideous Towns: I don’t see why not. In my biased mind I can see this being an easy highlight gig of the year, for us as a band and myself as a fan, so if it’s well attended and the venue is happy then it would be cool to see more stuff like this happen again. That would be so dope actually, I don’t really like proper festivals and we never get to play any haha!
Ché Walden, Miniatures: Absolutely! It seems to have come together so easily, simply from the idea to putting it together. I guess we’re fortunate here to have places like The Tote that are willing to go along with something this crazy and just say “Yes”!
Gabriel Lewis, Lowtide: I guess we’ll see how this one goes before considering that. But the amount of bands I had to leave off was really frustrating, so there’s definitely enough talent for another!

 

DKFM: Do you realize that fans around the world are right now looking at Australia, and talking about THIS event? How does that make you feel?

Gabriel Lewis, Lowtide: I’m pretty surprised, to be honest. I’ve had my head down trying to get this across the line so I didn’t even think about this registering on the global shoegaze community’s radar. Pretty stoked!
Chris MacLean, Hideous Towns: I hadn’t stopped to consider that, but I suppose friends and I are always doing the same thing from their perspective about rad shows in the US or UK or something so yeah why wouldn’t they be, we’ve got a lot of bands here to be jealous of! I’m sure we’d all be keen to take it overseas if someone was willing to get involved bread-wise, maybe some day!
Ché Walden, Miniatures: Bizarre. Down here when you’re a fan of the bands and musical subcultures that we are, you’ve grown up/come up looking outwards, looking backwards, to the 90’s, to times and places we (generally) never saw etc. So the idea of the tables being turned, if only briefly is pretty humbling! I still find it hard to believe that what we have is unique, if it is. Like, surely doesn’t every big city have this? A bunch of bands that like each others music and play together regularly with hardly any competitiveness etc? If not, then we’re luckier than I realised.

Lucky indeed. This event seems to have made an even bigger splash overseas as word of Roogaze 2015 (and this lineup) has spread. Keep an eye on the event page for details, and stay tuned to DKFM for our updates!

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More to come…

Perhaps the most impressive debut this year is Flyying Colours’ “Wavygravy”. Self-assured and masterful, Melbourne, Australia’s Flyying Colours have been kicking around since late 2011, but their first single is pure polished sonic bliss. Don’t take our word for it. Check out the newly-released video to accompany the single.

Not simply content to rest on sound alone, these folks can write catchy, memorable tunes. Visit their website, join their mailing list, and you can get your own download of “Wavygravy” immediately! We frankly expect great things from these folks in the very near future.

Flyying Colours website: www.flyyingcolours.com

Flyying Colours Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/flyyingcolours