Huge dance parties, Mongolian throat singing meets electro metal, an ascendant Australian rapper and a loving documentary keep Melbourne’s musical heart pumping in September.

Now Sound: Melbourne’s Listening Screening and Live Show
Following its appearance at MIFF 2018, director Tobias Willis’s documentary on Melbourne’s independent music scene, Now Sound: Melbourne’s Listening, is getting an encore screening at Howler.

It’s an unenviable task trying to sum up our city’s diverse and vibrant scene. The documentary is too geographically focused on the inner north to be able to claim a comprehensive look at Melbourne’s independent musicians, and there’s a notable absence of crucial venues, such as Chapel Street’s Revolver.

But at its best the film is a loving portrait of what is undoubtedly a wildly creative, vital selection of Melbourne’s best musicians and reveals some of the economic and legislative challenges faced by venues. Its most revealing section shines a light on the improving but ongoing discrimination faced by women and LGBTQI musicians. If you care about Melbourne music, this project deserves your support.

Howler will switch into party mode following the screening with sets from the film’s featured artists including Indigenous rapper Drmngnow, singer-songwriter Emma Russack, techno producer Chiara Kickdrum and a secret headliner.

Now Sound: Melbourne’s Listening Screening and Live Show is at Howler on Sunday September 23. Tickets here.

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Smalltown with DJ Koze
One of dance music’s true mavericks, DJ Koze, is the first artist to headline B3 – Melbourne’s massive new underground party space.

The German DJ and producer is celebrated for both his remix work and long-players, including the outstanding Knock Knock, one of the year’s essential releases. Koze’s productions are so organic, touching and soulful that moments of euphoria can sneak up, leaving you powerless to swim against the blissful currents. Rather than an all-black techno uniform, don’t be surprised if he shows up in a polar fleece burning incense.

DJ Koze will be supported by Gerd Janson, the head of Balearic dance label Running Back, and fast-rising techno star Charlotte de Witte.

Smalltown is at B3 on Thursday September 27. Tickets here.


The All Seeing Hand
On stage there are blinking eyeballs bigger than a human head surveying the crowd. Beings are trapped in a stocking, a tangle of limbs and grimacing faces pushing out against the pink cloth; a chrysalis you don’t want to crack open. A small bald man pounds around the stage making sounds akin to Mongolian throat singing while a DJ scratches records to create pulsing electronic distortion.

This was not a fever dream but a live set from The All Seeing Hand – one of New Zealand’s most singular bands – and the three cops standing behind me were utterly bewildered by the madness on stage.

Trust me, you’ve never seen or heard anything quite like this.

The All Seeing Hand play the Curtin on Friday September 14. Tickets here.


Animals Dancing: Bears Gone Bush Week
Sometimes even the best laid plans come undone. Animals Dancing: Bears Gone Bush was supposed to be the debut festival outing for one of Melbourne’s most beloved and long-running parties. And it had found a home at Our Friends Farm in Tallarook, the home of the Boogie and New Year’s Evie festivals.

But when neighbours of the farm objected to another party moving in, Animals Dancing organisers Andee Frost and Otologic were forced to head back to the concrete jungle.

Now the event is being spread out over a week, at three Melbourne venues. The three parties include analogue electronic excursions from Interstellar Funk, wonky dub from Toulouse Low Trax and Elena Colombi’s rhythmic electro.

The pick of the bunch, though, is the final night, with eclectic, breezy selectors Pender Street Steppers. The Canadian duo is backed by Hashman Deejay and Melbourne’s own tropical outback adventurer, Tornado Wallace.

Animals Dancing: Bears Gone Bush Week takes place from September 21 to 29. Tickets here.


Tkay Maidza
It’s hard to say if the band room at Howler is big enough to contain the energy of Adelaide rapper Tkay Maidza. Her new EP Last Year Was Weird Vol. 1 brings together Maidza’s experiences following the runaway success of her 2016 album Tkay. The EP is a move away from the electronic dance-leaning productions of her first album.

Opening track Big Things has a loping, reggae-tinged beat influenced by the musical interests of her father, who even contributes the bass line. Trap snares feature throughout, adding a rugged edge to the palette of the record.

But it’s tender R’n’B jams, like White Rose, that feel like a real evolution for Maidza. The song recounts the sadness and disappointment of a failed relationship in which one participant is growing and evolving, and the other remains fixed in their ways. Realising a relationship has run its course is heartbreaking, but Maidza finds empowerment moving into a new phase of her life. As the rapper moves from strength to strength, it’s hard to see anyone dragging her down.

Tkay Maidza plays Howler on September 13. Tickets here.