ON STAGE: kyü at The Workers Club

kyü create a kind of expanded pop music that pundits spend thousands of words trying to pin down. Sprawling yet intimate, voluminous yet fragile, impossibly complex yet surprisingly simple, the young Sydney duo – Freya Berkhout and Alyx Dennison – craft a sound world of vast musical polarities and possibilities.

It’s no fluke that in just their first year of making music together, they’ve managed to secure support slots for the likes of Why?, High Places, Patrick Wolf, Yeasayer and others, and garnered something of a cult following of their own. Indeed, their self-titled debut record – released last month via Pop Frenzy – charts tribal rhythms and layered vocal chants, ethereal drones and intricate minor key pop, and has garnered praise across the country.

If you haven’t caught them yet, kyü take to stage at The Workers Club in Fitzroy this Saturday in what should prove an equally surreal and stunning performance. Melbourne pop kids Psuche and Parking Lot Experiments provide support.

kyü, supported by Psuche and Parking Lot Experiments, play The Workers Club on Saturday, October 30, 8pm, $10.


IN STORE: Avey Tare, Down There

Long before records like Strawberry Jam (2007) and flourishing pop of Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) made them hipster household names, Animal Collective were stringing together the kind of arcane sound experiments that confounded as many listeners as they corralled. Early records like Campfire Songs (2003) and Sung Tongs (2004) made for wonderful webs of arcane noise, joyous shards of harmonic complexity and dense melodic melange, and the more unadventurous among us were suitably perturbed.

Down There – the debut subterranean sketch from Animal Collective co-founder Avey Tare – may not explore the dissonant peripheries that the group’s formative records do, but it does revel in a similar, and genuinely captivating, sense of the oblique. While this, for all intents and purposes, is a melodic pop record, it’s a melodic pop record buried under a film of murk, weeds and dank, river silt. Synths bubble and swirl; blunted beats scatter amid lurking rhythms; vocals drown in a sea of shuddering reverb. And it’s a good thing.

Avey Tare’s wonderful nous for Brian Wilson-esque harmony is written all over Down There – cuts like 3 Umbrellas and Heads Hammock are gorgeous moments – it’s just that he’s softened and obscured the sharper, louder edges. It all translates to a record of subtle and quite beautiful charms; one that you have to wait to emerge from the swamp, but one that becomes clearer and brighter with every listen.

Down There is out via Mistletone/Inertia.


UPCOMING: Summer Sideshows

One of the downsides of the proliferation of summer music festivals is having to fork out exorbitant prices only share your favourite band with a sweaty, disinterested, singlet-strewn crowd. That’s where sideshows come in. And a host of them – namely for Laneway – have just been announced. If you don’t feel like rubbing shoulders with half of Melbourne, you can check Baltimore lovelies Beach House at the HiFi Bar on January 25, Atlanta’s droned-out pop monarchs Deerhunter at Billboard on February 9, esoteric LA guy Ariel Pink at the HiFi Bar on February 10 and Brooklyn experimentalists Yeasayer at Billboard on the same night. Choose wisely.