September 6, 2012 5:28 pm

The Load-down: Australian electropop

A guide to the best tracks to download and stream from the burgeoning down-under electropop scene
Nick Allbrook of Tame Impala©Getty

Nick Allbrook of Tame Impala

Something’s up Down Under. Perhaps to distract itself from a sub-par performance at the London Olympics (sorry, mates, I had to sledge), Australia is turning out some golden electropop at the moment. Cut Copy and Empire of the Sun are previous winners you should already know. This summer, Pnau had their fortunes made when Elton John allowed the Sydney duo to release their remix album of his 1970s hits, Good Morning to the Night. Here are five more names to listen out for and examples of their wares.

“Idea of Happiness” by Van She

Sydney’s Van She are stalwarts of the key Aussie label Modular. Their second album, Idea of Happiness, is released in the UK on September 10. The title track – see its curious, Kath & Kim-go-hipster-type video on YouTube – hits all its 1980s-echoing disco cues, with a few 21st-century bass wobbles along the way and a wistful, radio-friendly chorus. The album also features a song called “Jamaica” – topical, this year – that sounds a bit like a nouveau Duran Duran, although it’s no “Rio”.

“Secret Paradise” by Scraps

Ear-bashingly catchy, with a delightfully home-made-looking, synthesizer-abusing video, Scraps’s “1982” was an instant smash among bloggers in February: think yé-yé girl let loose with Hot Chip’s “monkey with a miniature cymbal”. Watch on You Tube. Brisbane’s Laura Hill followed that up with the full “Secret Paradise” EP in July. Her childish voice may not be to everyone’s taste, but her electropop nous is unmistakable. Hear all three of the EP’s tracks, including the bleepy “Simple Minds”, at disembraining.bandcamp.com/album/secret-paradise.

“Maybe You” by Saint Lou Lou

“The saga begins,” it says portentously on Saint Lou Lou’s website. Since they’re twin sisters with model looks, raised in Oz and Sweden, the omens seem pretty good for a poptastic career. Elektra and Miranda Kilbey offer substance as well as style – well, the sad-eyed, poutingly alluring, dream-pop ballad kind – on their current EP, Maybe You, just on the Parisien label Kitsuné. Hear it at soundcloud.com/saintloulou/maybeyou.

“A Cowboy Overflow of the Heart” by The Avalanches (featuring David Berman)

“They say you can live a long, long time on the love of dog,” intones the poet/musician David Berman (ex-Silver Jews) on this surprising spoken-word demo from The Avalanches, which surfaced late last month on You Tube. Fans of the sampledelic Melbourne crew will know how he feels: they’ve been waiting 12 years for the follow-up album to the acclaimed Since I Left You. The momentum is building, however. The release of a record the band once declared to be “so party you will die” just might be soon. You can’t see many people dancing to this track in its current form, though.

“Elephant” by Tame Impala

Another act on Modular, Tame Impala are a Perth outfit masterminded by Kevin Packer. Their latest album, Lonerism, is released in Britain on October 8. It has been “finished, mixed, mastered, Mooged, broinged, and beeped”, according to their Facebook page, with the Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann. “Elephant”, the first single, is more psychedelic glam stomp than electropop to be fair – in fact, like, totally – but it’s too good not to include here. Here it at soundcloud.com/tame-impala.

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