39. CASSETTE KIDS “Nothing On TV”
The impressive debut album from Australia’s own Cassette Kids proved to be a proper event in Aussie pop music for 2010. With production credits going to the incredibly talented Michael di Francesco (Van She, Ladyhawke), this collection of air-tight pop, electro and rocktronica showcased a bubbling band with not only a lot of exciting ideas, but a real sense of defining pop smarts about them. Singles “Lying Around” and “Spin” are as arresting now as they were when they first appeared on radio playlists, the latter complete with an infectious chorus and impressively-structured verses which make for one of the Aussie singles of the year and was – criminally – overlooked by consumers. The story behind it remains incredibly sincere; it’s the end of the world, so let’s just listen to records until it all goes to shit. Its honestly thoughtful lyrics demonstrate just how passionate these guys are about music. “If it all were to end today, then this is the last song; and that’s okay.” It’s a lyric that really resonated with me and the single should have done a lot more on the charts than it did.
The crowning moment on this debut though is the title track, “Nothing on TV”, which is – hopefully – more the direction we’ll see the Kids going in for album number 2. The most stimulating three minutes and thirty seconds on here, “Nothing on TV” is an exercise into some seriously hyperactive techno-rock, the kind that these kids have honed in on better than those who have an album full of it. There’s shades of No Doubt on the record as well, with frontwoman Kat channelling her inner Gwen Stefani on stuff like “You Shot Me”, and the luciously-made for radio “Game Player”. But subtlety serves itself at the very end of “TV”, with the hypnotic “Fatal Attraction” bringing a stellar and hit-packed record to a dreamy-close.
Even if you don’t remember what cassettes are, these guys are brilliant and so is their debut.
NOTHING ON TV
(SONYBMG) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In 2008 Sydney’s Cassette Kids took home the prize of the Triple J Unearthed competition and followed it with the release of their debut EP, “We Are.” 48 months later, and the Cassette Kids are finally launching their debut Long Player, “Nothing On TV.”
For those dismissing the band as another Ladyhawke or Modular act aren’t, however, looking hard enough. Aside from the fact they aren’t even on Modular, there’s a lot more to the Cassette Kids than a few ball-tearing pop tunes and some dance beats. “Nothing On TV” proves this in around 50 minutes playing-time.
In fact, anyone expecting an all-out pop album (or dance album, even, which it seems Rave Magazine thought it was… which does make you think if they even bothered to listen to the record, or whether they just jotted down what they thought was wrong with Australia’s dance music scene and then fobbed it off as a review – WHO KNOWS) is going to be left surprised. There is definitely an air of incredible pop sensibilities at play here, but there are some exciting and creative rock-monster moments on here (“You Shot Me” comes in like an exciting bat out of hell upon your stereo) that still separate the Kids from the rest of the dance-pop-indie hybrid. Very smart.
Production credits for “Nothing On TV” sit with Van She’s synth-master Michael Di Francesco (who’s almost turning out to be Australia’s answer to Stuart Price); there are 80′s licking guitars and 90′s references here and there; from the almost No Doubt feel to some of the music (“Freaky Sweetie”, “Wherever You Are”), to the thundering techno beats of album (and career) highlight, the title-track “Nothing On TV” which – in its final minute – turns into one of the most exciting and innovative moments in Australian pop for a long time.
“Game Player” is TV’s other crowning moment who, along with the records singles “Spin” (still one of the years best singles) and “Lying Around”, come complete with choruses so infectious you’ll be on anti-biotics not long after hearing them.
The best thing about “Nothing On TV” is that, although it definitely cross-references other artists and genres of music the Cassette Kids themselves have sought inspiration from, it still sounds like a record put out by the Cassette Kids. It still has that grimy energy from their original debut, it’s just a little more polished this time around.
I await with much excitement to see what they’re going to do next.
NOTHING ON TV is released through Sony/BMG Australia tomorrow. Clicky to pre-order a physical copy from JB HiFi, or jump on iTunes tomorrow to purchase a digital copy.
There are so many musical thoughts that end up on Twitter that, if I weren’t so lazy, could probably be extended into slightly longer paragraphs on the blog. I caught myself spending too much time on Twitter again this week when I could have been blogging. NO MORE!
There are things I really want to talk about, like the new Sophie Ellis-Bextor Song of the Year “Bittersweet”, or the amazing new album from Delphic (among other things I’ve got almost ready to go), but in the meantime, there’s all of this that’s going through my head.
The new Groove Armada album “Black Light” is quite rapidly going from being a three-and-a-half-star album to a near five-star one. It seems to be the most consistent album from them to date; “Look Me In The Eye Sister” is like 60′s psychedelia meets trance, “I Won’t Kneel” featuring SaintSaviour is one of their best singles so far, and Will Young (who’s still looking mighty fine and was tops in Skins, wasn’t he?) collaboration “History” and the Fenech Sole “Paper Romance” are actually perfect, aren’t they? Top stuff, I should do a proper review of it soon actually.
The debut Cassette Kids album is also incredible and, I think, will surprise a few of their doubters. Quality from start to finish, review and A NEW interview with the guys coming soon. Also, the new Rogue Traders single “Would You Raise Your Hands?” goes to radio tomorrow morning from 7AM – you’ll finally all get to hear what I’ve been banging on about for so long. It’s tops, can’t wait for everyone else to be in love with it too.
Telephone tomorrow. OMG…
The new MGMT single song abortion is so all over the place that I barely got through the whole thing. 4 minutes and 16 seconds should not feel like a really disjointed 40 minute megamix gone horribly wrong. It’s like they had 10 really good (unfinished) ideas for some great songs, and just put it all together in one. Disappointing. Make your own judgements on it though, it’s available – legally – for free over here.
The same goes for the brand new Princess Superstar single, “Ground Control.” I have a really big gripe with people whispering; it’s not a pretty sound but can be carried off quite well in very small doses in some pop songs. Every verse in this however is whispered. It grates so much that you’re just waiting eagerly for the chorus, but then – of course – it really doesn’t feel like it was worth the wait al all. And the wait has been five years for new material from this lady. It’s really upsetting because I have loved EVERYTHING she’s done in the past and not just the highly underrated “My Machine” LP from 2005. She’s an incredible entertainer live and has the smarts to pen a perfect song. Unfortunately, this is far from perfect, but I’m hoping there’s a lot more to her upcoming album “The Next Evolution” than this insinuates. Also being offered as a free download on her MySpace, if you’re interested. Immediately after you hear it for yourself, listen to this, or this, and tell me that I’m not disappointed for a reason. She doesn’t need to make an electro-fused record for me to be happy, it just needs to be good.
The new Sugababes album, “Shit 7″… I don’t think I need to say any more actually.
Blog-commenter J responded to my Ke$ha/3OH!NO remark on last weeks eTunes post by offering a link to a Ke$ha-only, 3OH-FREE version of “Blah Blah Blah.” Thank GOD. Find it here… Thanks J!
There’s a lot going on at the moment in regards to the closure of BBC’s 6 Music radio station, and whilst I’m not going to even attempt to talk about (Popjustice have done a pretty good job of that, here, here and here), it reminded me a little of the near-10-year battle Hitz FM suffered through when it was running for a full time license in Melbourne between the years of 1992 and 2001. You can read more about the station (which was never granted that full time broadcasting license) here, it pretty much cemented my passion for dance music and radio during my ‘formative years’ and the uproar being caused RE: the 6 Music closure has just brought all of those incredible, but now somewhat upsetting, memories back.
Cheryl Tweedy chose her words incorrectly during an International TV appearance and scared the shit out of hundreds of millions of their fans. It’s all been cleared up now (Cheryl’s NOT leaving Girls Aloud, nor has she left), but I really feel like we’ve gotten to a point where I almost couldn’t care less about any more Cheryl material OR Nadine’s new album because it’s all just getting in the way of having my 2010 Album of the Year picked out for me in the form of a Girls Aloud release. Bitches I am OVER this shit.
It’s been 10 years since The Avalanches released their debut album “Since I Left You”. Preposterous. Get on with it boys, who do you think you are, Kate Bush? If only it had been a 10 year wait in between Wolfmother albums… Aah yes, what a simpler world it would be.
I’m normally not for posting twice in one day about the same song, but there is plenty now that needs to be said about the Cassette Kids‘ new single “Spin”, which I’ve had on repeat at such an obsessive rate it would make Glenn Close blush.
Over the last 12 hours I’ve basically thrashed a MySpace rip of this song. And over these intense repeated listens, I’ve enjoyed learning most of the words and singing it at a very high volume in my car. It’s been a REALLY good day for music for me because this is pretty much all I’ve listened to. It’s one of the most incredible love songs about music I’ve heard in a bloody long while, and that chorus is so radio-ready it can’t possibly not do well.
I remember when it eventually clicked (after about the 17th consecutive listen) in my head that Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” was one of the greatest radio-ready pop songs of all time. This is just as radio-ready. It’s infectious, it’s sort of about the world ending – but not really at all about the world ending, but more about if it were ending that the idea of a particular song being one you’re okay to hear right before you die. So in other words = Very Overly Great.
I really loved the Cassette Kids when they released their debut EP and have fawned over them on the blog a few times in the past. I LOVE them now though. This song has put them in a first-class different league.
If people don’t buy this single I’ll actually consider not bothering anymore. I just love it so much. These guys have combined all of their childhood (and young adult) musical and life influences into what’s shaping up to be one of those really special Australian electronic-pop-hybrid albums of the year. 2010′s Presets or Cut Copy, if the new material I’ve heard is anything to go by.
Stars in the making, each and every one of them. I can’t bloody wait for the video clip or for the song to be available on iTunes.
THE NEW CASSETTE KIDS SINGLE IS EVEN BETTER THAN THEIR LAST.
I caught the Aussie four-piece live the other night supporting for Calvin Harris here in Melbourne (review and pics of the Calvin portion tomorrow), where they showcased a mixture of older songs with some as-yet-unreleased material from their upcoming debut album, Nothing On TV.
“Spin”, single number 2 from the record in question, has a VERY big chorus; it’s like throwing Roxette, No Doubt and Ladyhawke into a grinder and serving the result in a glass full of ice. Incredible.
The video clip was shot this week in Melbourne, but until that’s made available on the web, you can hear “Spin” in full over on the bands MySpace.
Cassette Kids are shaping up to be one Australia’s greatest hopes, not only for 2010, but beyond. “Lying Around” should have been bigger than it was, and “You Take It” remains an important staple in Australia’s Indie-pop scene. Their debut EP We Are STILL gets spun frequently on my stereo, and now there’s “Spin”, an accomplished and sophisticated slice of infectious pop music that somehow trumps all of their already stellar work. It’s also a song about songs, one of my favourite topics in Pop.
To top it all off, not a single one of the members is very ugly at all, are they?
Well over a year ago I ran a Cassette Kids piece on here and bung on about them being my new favourite pop group. The Sydney-siders have just finished creating their debut album, Nothing On TV, the exciting follow-up to last years EP, the ace We Are, and are about to embark on a National Tour supporting the new single, Lying Around, co-written and produced by Michael Di Francesco, he of-the Van She.
I spoke to Katrina from the Cassette Kids late last year for a chat but never posted the interview. And just last week, I spoke to the lovely lady again, and this time I’ve made sure it’s ready to go for your listening pleasure.
Easily one of the best interviews I’ve done; up there with the ace Antigone ones actually. Katrina’s an incredibly great subject to interview. It’s refreshing to speak to someone in music who has an incredibly contagious approach to the passion for their work, whilst still holding on to a brilliant sense of humour. It doesn’t happen too often at all and, as when you’re doing interviews with artists week-in, week-out, these type of pleasantries are never taken for granted.
Sydney’s Cassette Kids have already supported the likes of The Presets, The Ting Tings, Van She, New Young Pony Club, Crystal Castles and Muscles. At the beginning of this year, after they won Triple J’s Unearthed competition, the four piece were snapped up by Sony BMG for a recording contract and have just released their debut EP, “We Are.”
The above video is for their debut single, “You Take It,” which not only showcases their potential as one of Australia’s great new pop hopes, but also plays host to the emergence of an absolute superstar in the form of frontwoman Katrina Noorbergen. You’ll also notice that the band as a whole aren’t exactly ugly either.
Full EP review and an interview with the down-to-earth Katrina coming soon. In the meantime, head on over to TheirSpace and listen to the incredible “Forwards Backwards.”