May music review

Gum’s monthly music round-up for May 2019.

Illustrations by Tahlia Kristjansson



Falling Asleep (Single)

As a departure from her dream-pop debut EP, local multi-instrumentalist Amber Ramsay’s latest release, Falling Asleep, is darker and almost entirely instrumental. The exception being the title track, in which her dreamy vocals coax you into a state of calmness reminiscent of a lullaby, while simultaneously evoking sorrow through the use of minor chord progressions. The EP is an immersive, dramatic journey, it feels huge and cinematic, and is full to the brim with swelling build-ups and haunting, outstretched orchestral sections. More rhythmic in comparison to the other tracks, Still ends the EP with high-movement melodies soaring over the drawn out synths and strings, evoking a final sense of excitement or hope.

For fans of: Wes Anderson film soundtracks

Pairs with: A rainy night in bed.

Listen to Falling Asleep on Spotify here.



Don’t Go [Riding Down the Cosmic Drain] (Single)

Gold Coast three-piece Syrup, Go On’s new dreamy, psych-pop single, Don’t Go (Riding Down the Cosmic Drain) takes you through catchy guitar hooks and grooving bass lines to shimmering breakdowns and faraway vocals. No two parts of the song sound the same. The sections progress through to a bridge brimming with wavering guitar strums, ethereal synth patterns and reverb-drenched vocals. The track ends in a monumental build-up featuring a gritty lead guitar, before the instruments drop out, leaving the beautifully layered vocal harmonies to ring out in their full glory.

For fans of: Tame Impala

Pairs With: Pancakes- the ‘special’ kind.

Listen to Don’t Go [Riding Down the Cosmic Drain] on Spotify here.



That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll (EP)

Brisbane artist Jarrod Mahon has been performing under the moniker of Emerson Snowe for years, and a few of the songs from the EP have been drifting around in varying versions since his early days, but That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll brings everything together in a wonderfully cohesive synth-pop story. Previously stripped back songs have been brought to life with catchy bass lines and fuller production, while still retaining their garage-pop charm. If I Die, Then I Die is a great example of this, with Mahon almost yelling the chorus in parts, and crooning gently over strings in others. The EP has its softer moments too, like Could You Love Me?, a slow, synth-driven love song dedicated to longingly dreaming up a future with someone. You Say ends the EP on a playful, upbeat note, with catchy instrumental melodies and lyrics, leaving you in a dreamy, nostalgic daze.

For fans of: Yo La Tengo, Ciggie Witch, Flowertruck

Pairs with: A warm sunlit room, some deep nostalgia.

Listen to That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll on Spotify here.



Ghost Poke (Single)

Indie-pop act Fritz is the project of 19-year-old Newcastle local Tilly Murphy, and as much as it isn’t fair someone this young is allowed to be this talented, we’re grateful for it. Ghost Poke is an ode to that feeling of only being wanted when it suits others, maintaining its fast-paced, glistening noise-pop energy from beginning to end. The song kicks straight off with fuzzy guitars, high-energy drums, and Murphy’s dreamy vocals, immediately capturing your attention. The song weaves its simple but memorable main melody across instruments and vocals, moving the song forward in a way that makes it feel like Murphy wasn’t going to slow down for anyone until she’d got out what was on her mind.

For fans of: Tired Lion, Black Tambourine, The Jesus and Mary Chain

Pairs with: Driving with all the windows down to the local bakery for a sweet pastry.

Listen to Ghost Poke on Spotify here.



Three Imaginary Boys (May, 1979)

In the midst of worldwide celebrations for Disintergration’s 30th Anniversary this month, The Cure’s debut album was quietly celebrating a milestone of its own: 40 years since its release. Three Imaginary Boys sets the foundations for the next few decades of releases from the English post-punk band. The album was recorded in three nights, resourcefully using equipment left overnight in the studio. Lacking the synthesisers and reverb-drenched mixes that would soon become crucial to their sound with their next releases, Three Imaginary Boys feels sparse in places. The opening track, 10:15 Saturday Night features loud, sharp drum hits and short, muted guitar strokes, even Robert Smith’s vocals repeating ‘drip drip drip’ copies this cut-off, staccato style. The vocals sound improvised and whimsical throughout, the song So What being a great example of this. Three Imaginary Boys sounds more punk than later albums, and in certain parts, the ‘doom and gloom’ pushes its way to the forefront, like in Subway Song. Smith has said that Three Imaginary Boys is his least favourite album due to the complete lack of creative control he was given, and the production is admittedly less than great. Despite this, it stands the test of time with the song Fire In Cairo still being a notable favourite for many fans, and serves as a raw attestation of the pivotal early stages for the soon-to-be influential act.

For fans of: Echo & the Bunnymen, The Smiths (but less vegan)

Pairs with: A dark and dingy bar (in the most comforting of ways)

Listen to Three Imaginary Boys on Spotify here.

Alice Mikkelsen