England’s genre-defying collective HMLTD have opened up about the Aussie artists that get them going, telling us about their five favourite local acts.
Close to five years ago, the world was introduced to the majesty of English outfit HMLTD. A musical collective that cannot easily be placed into one single genre, the group have been making some pretty groundbreaking music for quite some time now.
With a penchant for making tunes that sound like Everything Everything listened to Death Grips before getting into the glam-rock and punk scenes of the ’70s, and then following it up with more tracks that sound like every other possibility imaginable, there’s no denying that that the group have a wide variety of influences.
Undoubtedly, we’ve now received another example of their wide-reaching sound, with the group recently releasing the gorgeously immersive ‘Why?’.
“Another mirror to the modern world we live in – via exploring the paradoxical loneliness that defines modern, urban life,” explains frontman Henry Spychalski of the track.
“Set in Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolitan city and with the verse written in Japanese the song talks about being surrounded by people but an ever increased alienation and detachment from surrounding, neighbours and relationships.
“As the song progresses, the chorus sounds like Japanese but infact is gibberish – mimicking the vertigo of detachment. Even when one does communicate. Is anybody really listening, understanding or trying to understand?”
To celebrate the new song, we had a chat with them about their favourite Aussie artists, and found some rather surprising results along the way. While there’s no word yet as to when we might find the group embarking on an Aussie tour, we’ve now got a great idea as to who their dream tourmates are.
Check out ‘Why?’ by HMLTD:
Along with Steve Irwin and the bloke from Crocodile Dundee, for us in London,, Slim Dusty represents the quintessential Australian citizen, a stereotype which decades of progressive politics and great coffee hasn’t quite managed to shake off.
Best known for his inspired take on ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and the ultimate drinking song, ‘Duncan’. Ripper.
Kirin J Callinan
The best-dressed man in Australia. I remember a friend showing me ‘S.A.D.’ on YouTube a few years ago and just being blown away: the bizarre operatic power pop that didn’t really have a structure, the ridiculous key changes, the beautiful shots of Cuba in the video.
He’s definitely one of the best artists coming out of Australia at the moment. I didn’t think ‘Big Enough’, his comedic hit song, has done him many favours with the casual listener: some of his songs are beautiful. Try ‘Bravado’ and ‘Family Home’.
A virtuoso lyricist. Courtney manages to make the rhyming couplet sound alternatively humorous, sexy and profound.
‘Pedestrian At Best’ is our favourite, for its bewildering volley of internal rhyme:
I love you, I hate you, I’m on the fence, it all depends,
Whether I’m up or down, I’m on the mend, transcending all reality,
I like you, despise you, admire you
What are we gonna do when everything all falls through?
I must confess, I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success,
But I digress, at least I’ve tried my very best, I guess.
Men At Work
Men At Work make our list for one reason. ‘Down Under’ is a huge, huge tune. A standout pick from that collection of ‘ethically-dubious ethnic-inspired’ bangers that came out of the ’80s, like ‘Africa’ and ‘The Riddle’.
We always use it in our DJ sets if the crowd are getting tired, because everyone loves this song. The lyrics are full of mystery – what is a fried-out combie? Or a Vegemite sandwich? Who cares when a song bangs this hard?
There are many amazing Australian rock bands from the ’70s – Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, AC/DC – but the connoisseur’s choice is Rose Tattoo.
Though never commercially successful outside of Oz, Rose Tattoo were a big influence on the LA rock scene in the ’80s: ‘Nice Boys’ was famously covered (and arguably bettered) by Guns N’ Roses on G N’ R Lies, and ‘Rock N Roll Outlaw’ was re-recorded by LA Guns.
Rose Tattoo are well overdue credit for being one of the baddest hard rock groups of the late ’70s.