Take a moment for this cutesy jacking tune, and plug in to Holy Balm – ‘Fashion’:
A three-piece from Sydney of drum machine (Jonathan Hochman), keyboard (Anna John), and mellow 80’s-esque voice (Emma Ramsay) (though they all do a bunch of stuff and play around) ft. saxophone of Marcus Whale from Collarbones, make for dreamy and snuggly pop vibes with bright-coloured neon flavours. Neat house rhythm drums pull the tune back to dancefloor sickness, a dancefloor featuring beaming happy friends and cute silly dancemoves: in sum, great oddball house music. iTunes reckons they are contemporaries of Beat Detectives – I would say equal parts that and Desire, stirred with a cocktail spoon over ice, topped up with ginger ale, and served with a sour cherry and mint. I work in a cocktail bar.
It’s the first single from an upcoming album Activity, due to be released August 5th, and is the latest addition to Chapter Music’s tradition of left-field album-length releases mostly on vinyl, and digital download, with some tapes and CDs to be found also. The Melbourne label fosters a great loopy vibe, which seems strong in the antipodean city: most of the Chapter Music artists I looked into on the label were locals.
The fruit-loop flavour seems quite in line with the man behind the eyes under the book, I hypothesize from the latest tune by label-daddy Guy Blackman – ‘Camming 4 Each Other’:
There’s a similar silly-synthy energy here to some of Gorillaz tracks on Plastic Beach, which is a high compliment from me – “I totally love that album dude”. Matching a cutie-pie melody with mentions of headless bodies smoothly crooned makes for a wonderfully strange song which is also simple pleasing listening.
So Chapter Music put out loads of great alternative Melbourne music (I took that tag from their bandcamp which has all the releases on it). The label has some serious chops in previous releases, like the 2014 release of Andras Fox and Oscar Key Sung’s Café Romantica, the album-length follow up to the Embassy Café mini-album which made waves in 2013/14 Australia:
A particularly neatly odd gem from another well-known (to me) Aussie name is NO ZU’s album Afterlife, with the single ‘Hi Gloss’ (released prior on Cutters Records) . Arthur Russell Dinosaur L disco vibes anyone? Lap it up!
A big track off the latest Chapter-released album, ‘The Neighbour’s Grass’ from Pikelet – Tronc, aligns itself with Chapter’s aesthetic of odd through spoken word and bloopy key elements, but shows us a neat spooky twist on the vibe; into the deep dark end:
I really recommend you check out Pikelet. Evelyn Morris is a really interesting person. I’m a new big fan, yes I am. Sincerely, Ian.
And definitely check out Chapter Music.
The back catalogue is substantial – plenty of digging to be had pour moi, novice to the label, and hopefully pour vous! I’ll catch up with you later once I’ve resurfaced, taken my headphones off, and arisen from the floaty cloud upon which I shall dreamily drift a while, chuckling happily.