Two New Perth Indie-Pop Records Worth Your Time

I've been writing about all manner of experimental performance in this column recently, but sure as death and taxes, I will always return to pop songs. There are few things I like better when done well, though doing them well is a challenging task. Here are two records from Perth (and/or its diaspora) that grabbed me by the ears this week.



One of my chief beefs with lots of contemporary rock music is how overworked it often sounds. Arrangements can shine when polished and tight, but it’s a waste of time if you trade in the spontaneity, directness and live energy that gives the genre its fundamental appeal.

This EP from Turtle Bay Television, then, is a welcome salve. It bursts into being via effortless riffs, slack-wristed grooves and refreshingly prosaic lyrics like:  “I was an accountant for a year and a half […] I had to resign to save my life.” If some lines are too crude to go down smooth (“I need money,” or “[I] put my hands between your thighs”), it’s still preferable to the empty couplets that litter so much alt-chart radio rock. 

Despite its immediacy, Rest Well In Your Shell isn’t the snotty puff of garage jam ephemera you might be imagining. It’s thoughtful, even artful, with a hint of dandy irreverence, and every line is delivered with a smoothly balanced baritone. ‘Horror Movie’ hints playfully at gothic post-punk while keeping one foot in a suburban backyard. The teasingly brief hammond-ballad ‘Andrea’ is pseudo-schmalzy in a way that few have been able to pull off since Edwyn Collins. Upon repeat listens, these four unassuming songs reveal their careful production and cleverness. But the no-nonsense aesthetic, the melodic manoeuvres, and the sense of personality at hand - these are the things that will give the EP an enduring charm. We can certainly look forward to a full-length album from Turtle Bay Television, who here show all the early signs of indie-pop greatness. 

Listen: Soon!


LONELY KOREA - EXCITED (LP, self-released)


Andy Burns is undoubtedly one of the most underrated songwriters Perth has produced in recent years. Formerly of local band Dave, Burns has since relocated to Tokyo and co-founded the outfit Baby Fire. But Excited marks his first solo outing, taking up the moniker Lonely Korea - a name inspired by a documentary about a woman who sells tea to nobody for six months a year in the DPRK.

These eight concise tracks boast many of the qualities that made Dave a great proposition: melodic, guitar-driven jigsaws of songs, deftly layered instrumental parts and wry, crooned lyrics. But the album also draws together a surprising diversity of sounds, from Japanese classical music (‘Matsuri’) to lo-fi piano contemplations (‘Meguro,’ ’Pemberton’) and spacious, 80s-leaning dream pop ('Rosie,' 'Scobie.') 

The resulting impression of these sounds combined recalls acts like The Magnetic Fields, Of Montreal, Jens Lekman and Alex Cameron: earnest and hummable pop-music ventures tempered with varying levels of bitter irony, experimental flourish, campy eccentricity and a literary bent. Across the lyrical narratives that allude to doomed romances, App-based dating and singing Disney songs to strangers via a call centre, it's alternately funny and sad, and often both at once (as per the Beckett-esque image of the solitary tea seller). 

Perhaps the album's only drawback its its relative scantness: it could use a couple more songs like the robust title track, and the quietly driving, arpeggiating 'Disney in Ice' - which brings to mind Television in its studious take on post-punk catchiness. Nevertheless, its brevity also adds a kind of charm, per the breezing-through quality of a novella - and invites you to listen over and over. 

Get Excited: Here 

Lyndon Blue