New Years Eve’s are traditionally unplanned, last minute events, involving clubs or house parties especially in laissez-faire Brisbane. This year was different. An independent music festival at the Powerhouse, brazenly named No Years! offered a tempting program. 21 bands in total: 14 local, 5 interstate and 2 international acts, over eleven hours at lovely New Farm location. We cast our NYE net on Australia's Bleeding Knees Club, Parades, Love Connection, Jonathan Boulet, The John Steel Singers and Oh Ye Denver Birds. And see who ranks best out of America Neon Indian and Sweden Shout Out Louds.
Lion Island were first encounted playing a free show in Brisbane's King George Square. Their ability to fill a large stage with eight members and the cavernous square full of wondrous music bolstered my mood and had casual passerby's on their way to the train, stop and listen. When seen again three months later at The Hi-Fi Bar a liking for the band was affirmed and proved that Lion Island are one of the city's most ambitious and talented acts. Here are a band able to switch from solo singer-songwriter folk, then become a Brisbane Beirut by adding brass and violin to the acoustic guitar and drums to full out orchestral rock, as if Finn Andrews was fronting The National.
Astute music fans have probably heard of the genre chillwave – a blend of 80s synths, psychedelic pop and liberal amounts of distortion – put upon acts like Memory Tapes, Toro Y Moi and Nite Jewel. The band most closely associated with that word is Neon Indian whose main man Alan Palomo, who also has a solo project VEGA, had a chat to Chris Berkley recently in London about the c-word, the beginnings of Psychic Chasms, the Yacht remix, his collaborations with Australian dance merchants Miami Horror, how he loves to make music that messes with people’s heads and the forthcoming Australian tour for the Texan group.