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Single Review: Woodes – Change My Mind

 
By on Monday, 16th July 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

The Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and producer Woodes began the new year with the release of second EP ‘Golden Hour’, the follow-up to her highly praised 2016 self-titled debut EP. More recently, the indie artist has been showcasing her talent in newly released single ‘Change My Mind’. Considering her previous work has been endorsed by streaming giant Spotify and caught the attention of scream queen Emma Roberts, the single has a lot to live up to.

Just as the lyrics suggest (“caught me by surprise…”), the opening verse does indeed surprise you after the gentle and atmospheric intro. Woodes’ vocals burst into the song accompanied by a syncopated, lo-fi drumbeat. Her signature vocals are immediately the star of the show, surely a production choice: it is a good one. Her vocal tone defines Woodes from other female indie artists such as LP or Sigrid. Characterised by a perfect mix of soft and staccato inflections, her vocals shine past all elements of the accompaniment. The lead vocals have been enriched by several layers of backing vocals that dip in and out of the song, echoing the lyrics. The placement of the backing vocals and the reverb effects that have been put on them have created a dream-like effect, these effects are reflected by numerous synths in the heavily-layered choruses. This dreamy, silky smooth texture brings out the richer tones in Woodes’ vocals, contrasting earlier tracks like ‘Origami’.

The lyrics present a fresh take on the basic theme of relationships, focusing on one that is past its best by date. There is a sense of female empowerment in the chorus where Woodes sings, “You could go and change my mind”, leaving the hard work of fixing a relationship to her partner. How refreshing. Although Woodes doesn’t opt for the copout ‘my heart is broken’ route that so many artists do when writing about love, there is a need for melodic and lyrical growth in ‘Change My Mind’ that she does not fulfill. As if in parallel, the lyrics, melody and accompaniment remain fairly unchanged throughout, and although these elements are all well-written, they become flat and need a change-up. Maybe the addition of a bridge with a little excitement in it could resolve this? However, even as is, Woodes has met her own high standards on ‘Change Your Mind’ and produced a worthy track.

8/10

Woodes’ new single ‘Change My Mind’ is out now. To read TGTF’s past coverage on Woodes, go here.

 

Video of the Moment #2754: Woodes

 
By on Monday, 11th December 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

This is definitely the year of the strong woman. The latest? Australian electronic pop artist Woodes, known to her mum as Elle Graham, released a new video late last week. ‘Dots’ is a lovely cinematic visual, with Graham playing a Wonder Woman, warrior princess type of traveller who traverses the brush, the desert, a snowy landscape, all over, day and night, in search of the truth. Who or what is she seeking? Will she be successful, victorious? Decide for yourself by watching the promo for single ‘Dots’ below. For much more here on TGTF on Woodes, go here.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: best bets of Australian artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Monday, 27th February 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Australia and her neighbour New Zealand will be sending over 30 acts to SXSW 2017. The list includes artists we covered at previous SXSWs, including Demi Louise, Hamish Anderson and Mansionair. In this post, I introduce you to the Australian acts I think are the cream of the crop from down under, representing the various genres of pop, rock, electronic and folk. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Alex Lahey – pop / rock / Melbourne
Alex Lahey would be my pick for the next big Australian global superstar. The world is ready for another strong young woman to follow in the footsteps of Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Gaga, and with this kick in the arse, upbeat pop/rock sound, Lahey owns it. On this side of the Pacific with her own American tour to follow SXSW, plus even earlier this month, when Lahey supported Tegan and Sara on their UK winter tour, the interest in this young Aussie singer/songwriter is clear. There’s nowhere to go but up, up, up for her.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z32tgLHEEBc[/youtube]

All Our Exes Live in Texas – Sydney / folk
The band with the name most appropriate for coming to Austin to perform, All Our Exes Live in Texas (pictured at top) take their cues from the greats of country and folk. The incredible melding of the talents of four individually brilliant musicians is the true success of this folk group, who take full advantage of the beautiful four-part harmonies they can achieve and their charismatic live shows, which have already left Sydneysiders breathless. They might still be some ways off from the Grand Ole Opry when they showcase at SXSW 2017, but something tells me they’ll get an invite soon.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElcYePVbv2w[/youtube]

Cameron Avery – rock / Perth
Are we allowed to call a 28-year old a Renaissance man? Sod it, we are when it comes to Cameron “Cam” Avery. From the capital of Western Australia, Perth, the singer/songwriter is probably best known outside of Oz for being a member of indie favourites Pond and Tame Impala, the latter of which he plays bass for. But this time in Austin, Avery will be playing for and promoting himself and his debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams’, which will be out on the 10th of March on Anti- Records and Spinning Top. As a solo artist, Cameron Avery’s music is as far as you can get from the psychedelia of Tame Impala: his is straightforward songwriting with a rich voice evocative of his Anti- labelmate Cass McCombs.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdN7bhUIOQw[/youtube]

Castlecomer – pop/rock / Sydney
Remember when Two Door Cinema Club’s music felt like a guilty pleasure, in the ‘Tourist History’ era well before their meltdowns? That’s what Castlecomer’s new single ‘If I Could Be Like You’: high energy, infectious guitar pop with a driving rhythm that can get tail feathers shaking at a music festival. While it’s a formula overused in the last few years because of the success of bands just like Two Door, Castlecomer’s success in the form of 2 million streams on Spotify for their 2016 EP ‘All of the Noise’ bodes well for their future. Hey Glassnote Records, are you looking for an Australian Two Door?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phwT4b9seAQ[/youtube]

Food Court – garage punk / Sydney
I’ll never understand why bands choose a name that will always produce unhelpful Google results. But it hasn’t prevented Food Court, from the neighbourhood of Glebe in Sydney, from already becoming a bit of an internet sensation. It’s kind a no-brainer: their scuzzy, fuzzy, garage punk style follows in the style of the Ramones and the Clash and has plenty of admirers. We hear their debut album will be out in March, which seems more than simply fortuitous serendipity, given their SXSW 2017 shout.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ0e5OwkSJg[/youtube]

The Heart Collectors – folk / Murwillumbah
The kind of band the Cambridge Folk Festival would give their right arm to book? The Heart Collectors, originally from the rural village of Tyalgum in New South Wales. I’m going to venture that this is like bluegrass country in America or the remote regions of Western Ireland, where a healthy reliance on harmonies conveying emotional themes, guitars and simple percussion is de rigueur. And sometimes simple is best.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jay7f53vmoE[/youtube]

Middle Kids – alt-rock / Sydney
Fronted by Hannah Joy, alt-rock group Middle Kids fill the place that was never really adequately filled after Melissa Etheridge: guitar pop with a slight country twang still palatable to the masses, yet able to show female vulnerability through the lyrics. Already introduced 2 weeks ago to the American public by getting the chance to perform on Conan O’Brien’s late night show – on Valentine’s Day no less – and with a brand new, eponymous EP to show off, Austin is for Middle Kids’ taking.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj8kWGx9xVU[/youtube]

Oscar Key Sung – r&b / electronic / Melbourne
Some people are surprised to see the marriage of r&b and electronic music, but ultimately both are rooted in the beat being the driving force of a song. Oscar Key Sung embraces both r&b and hip-hop in the electronic music he creates, intended for clubs and with a focus on fluidity and movement. The Australian’s approach is likely more brainier than the average dance producer (there’s a longer exposition here on his methodology and what makes him tick) but one does wonder if Oscar Key Sung could get SOHN out of his hoodie and on the dance floor. I’d say yes.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8ToRL6sE98[/youtube]

Throttle – DJ / Melbourne
Already a big deal in the dance world, Australian DJ Throttle is a self-described ‘dirty disco music’ maker. He’s remixed AlunaGeorge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LvWzwxMpuw and taken on Michael Buble’s vocals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDVj3o_dnQ (I’m assuming without his permission). He’s a badass. Don’t fight it.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjW4c1zsAxg [/youtube]

Woodes – pop / electronic / Melbourne
Elle Graham aka Woodes is a triple threat: she’s a young singer, songwriter and producer. The young Australian talent previously collaborated with fellow Aussies Atticus Beats, Golden Vessel and Ellkle. from her early solo singles ‘The Thaw’ and ‘Knives and Daggers’, she’s ready for her close-up. With an expansive vocal laying on top of a dancey, yet minimalist electronic beat reminiscent of the xx, her sound is reminiscent of a more pop Lykke Li. She wowed me at CMW 2016 last May in Toronto, and I’m sure she’ll slay in Austin.

To read more of our coverage on Woodes here on TGTF, go here.

 

Video of the Moment #2174: Woodes

 
By on Thursday, 1st September 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Twenty-something Melbourne artist Woodes has something new for us this week. The producer and singer/songwriter based in Melbourne who wowed me with a stripped-down appearance outside Drake One-Fifty during CMW 2016. In her new single ‘The Thaw’, she will remind you of minimalists the xx, but with more of a pop and r&b edge, perfect really for the BBC Radio 1 crowd. For the monochromatic accompanying promo video, Woodes – known to her mum as Elle Graham – takes off to the wilds in a black coat and her trademark blonde braids and to where else but a snowy scene. Watch the video for ‘The Thaw’ below. We’ll be looking forward to much more from the 23-year-old very soon, hopefully.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y88i4u5idR0[/youtube]

 

CMW 2016: early Wednesday at Drake One Fifty and Adelaide Hall – 4th of May 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 17th May 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Most of the band performances at Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 wouldn’t take place until after the sun went down. However, conference delegates and anyone else curious were welcome to partake in a series of free late afternoon shows at an outdoor stage outside Drake One Fifty, a chi-chi restaurant and a bar a mere block away from the hub of convention activity at the Sheraton Centre Toronto hotel. On Wednesday, I made it just in time to for all three acts and while it was chilly, it was sunny, and with CAN$5 Bud Light and sangria, a good time was had by all.

Woodes CMW 2016 at Drake One Fifty Wednesday

First up on this afternoon was Melbourne-based producer, singer and songwriter Elle Graham, who performs under the name Woodes. The tall blond 23-year old with amazing braids cut a dramatic figure in front of her small table of synths and controllers. I really enjoyed Graham’s vocals, expressive yet also fragile in their beauty. Paired with her syncopated beats such as on her track ‘Daggers and Knives’, she gave a winning performance.

Axel Flovent CMW 2016 at Drake One Fifty Wednesday

For a different change of pace, Woodes was followed by entertainment from a chillier locale on the opposite side of the globe from Oz. Axel Flovent is from a Northern fishing town in Iceland and during his short set at Drake One Fifty, he cracked jokes about the sun not shining (much) back home. Judging from the titles of his songs like ‘Snow’, he clearly has a fixation on the inclement weather of his homeland. Check out a live performance of the song below to fully appreciate the warm, gorgeous tones of Flovent’s voice. I imagine his singer/songwriter style will do very well in the UK and America.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkWAPrdLY5s[/youtube]

Violet Skies CMW 2016 at Drake One Fifty Wednesday

Welsh singer/songwriter Violet Skies closed out Drake One Fifty’s afternoon programming. We here at TGTF are no stranger to her music, as we covered her at the Monday night Trackd and at the Friday afternoon Cerdd Cymru / Music Wales showcases. Her silvery-lilac hair was stark against her usual black garb, which was less flowy and outrageous and more street than in Austin. Her setup at Drake One Fifty was stripped back from her usual live performances. What hadn’t changed was her soulful vocal delivery and her cutting lyrics from her personal life, including a cutting commentary about a past horrible boss in ‘Liar’.

After a quick dinner and an unsuccessful queueing up for a ridiculous ice cream at Sweet Jesus (I mean, seriously, look at these monsters), it was time to finally see a band from England. As many of you who have met me in person know, England has always felt more like home to me than America ever has. I feel most connected to the North, and when I saw a band from the North East that Martin had covered for us at Deer Shed a few years ago, I knew I had to go and represent. Smoove and Turrell, purveyors of “Northern coal music” with plenty of soul thrown in for good measure, were to perform live at Adelaide Hall.

Smoove and Turrell CMW 2016 at Adelaide Hall Wednesday

Delaying their set by half an hour allowed more punters to filter in to the city centre venue, much to the delight of John Turrell, who admirably led the Tyneside band through a series of groovy numbers that got punters’ arses shaking. I mean, how could you not get into it as their band’s keyboardist was playing his Nord with his feet? However, there was plenty of music west of the city centre for me to partake in during the rest of the evening.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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