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Birds Of Tokyo Setting Themselves Up As The New Powderfinger

24 September 2015 | 1:56 pm | Ross Clelland

Which, no matter how you feel about their music, is a fairly impressive boast to put on the press release.

With the budgetary considerations of video production ever more a priority, while you still want your tune to be played on Rage around 4am on a Sunday morning, bands have found the use of some imagination in marketing may be necessary.

For their take on it, Dawes use modern technology - and their friends. They get a few chums to sing chunks of their new tune into their phone cameras, in a variety of settings and lighting. That these pals include a couple of Killers, M.Ward, Conor Oberst, Gillian Welch and a further cast of dozens of indie luminaries reinforces the title of All Your Favourite Bands (Hub). And whether part of the plan, it’ll get a bunch of the casually interested to at least watch, if only for the moment they’ll see their favourite flash or meander past the lens. Should you the consumer also listen, you’ll find a quite splendid sentimental muse on days gone by, as is often of the Dawes template. All that before you go ‘Hey, that’s Brendan Flowers nodding along to the guitar solo!’. And that’s even before the cute kids choir kicks in at the end. Nawww.

Or, you can do the one shot video with illustrations of the various life vignettes of one of those ‘Sad, awkward boy bands people can relate to…’ to quote the clip itself. Band in question is the formerly somewhat emo Modern Baseball, although Rock Bottom (Run For Cover) in its sound and visions suggests they’ve learnt to at least take the piss from their own misery. That’s no bad thing, although there possibly should be an age limit on the wearing of slogan t-shirts, for there’s a point where it’s not the best of looks. 

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Then again, you can play it straight(ish) and make a genuinely stylish clip – just enough computer generated effects, and nice human textures is the approach taken by the increasingly fine Alpine. The ladies take moody walks among the landscapes through Shot Fox (Ivy League). Imagine, if you can, a 21st century update on later-period Human League – the commercially successful one - with the bonus of the girls actually being able to sing in tune. The fact remains they've become awfully good, and the world may appreciate them more than we do. 

Other bands have become so much a part of the firmament, you lose track of how long they’ve actually been operational. Apparently, we’ve had Birds Of Tokyo for going on a decade now, and they can now quote facts and figures such as them being the most played Australian band since Powderfinger. Which, no matter how you feel about their music, is a fairly impressive boast to put on the press release. I’d Go With You Anywhere (EMI) cascades and sparkles in their usual fashion, and will likely be one of those played well before midnight on those weekend episodes of Rage as referenced above.

The DJ as producer/musician has never really been a great currency in our nation, but Pludo – aka Anthony Kupinic – is self-confessedly looking to find some sort of middle ground between EDM and pop, and wants to have some sort of cinematic vision to the sound, as evidenced in high-end video for The Kingdom (Strawberry). Wistful chick on bicycle? Check. Romantic childhood memories? Check. Artist staring, apparently troubled, into the distance? Check. Sweep of synthesised brass to make the point? Check. Bronte-esque bath-tub drowning? Well, wasn't quite  expecting that…

Not sure if something’s been lost in translation from the Swedish, in The Radio Dept.’s first offering in five years. There is a poppish jangle of an almost 1980s Cure model to The Repeated Sodomy (Labrador), even if the title perhaps owes more to something like The Smiths-era of deliberately provocative singalongs. They’ve always been that kind of classicist pop band, but the overtly political nature of this probably not as obvious as it is here. You can listen and think, or just dance over the problems in the finest traditions of the Scandinavian take on rock and roll.

Then there’s those things that have slipped through the cracks, and not likely even been noticed here before you have them dangled in front of your face, so to speak. Lawson started off with a run of six top-ten singles in the UK, while barely registering a ripple in this hemisphere to my knowledge. They’re one of those support bands of choice up there to acts like Avril Lavigne and Jessie J., and will fulfil that role to old mate Robbie Williams when he turns up here to smile and flirt at entertainment reporters from all networks. Under The Sun (Liberator/Global) has all the fixed grin enthusiasm you’d expect from a band that might be of the 5 Seconds Of Summer model, once the acne as cleared up and the peroxide has grown out of the hair. Music to do the grocery shopping by.