Ladyhawke (DJ Set) & Casey Spooner (of Fischerspooner) DJ Set

One of the brightest stars to light up the pop firmament this millennium is back, with a difference. Thanks to her brilliant self-titled 2008 debut, LADYHAWKE, aka Pip Brown, shot to stardom around the world, particularly in Britain and the Antipodes, where the New Zealand-born singer-songwriter soon gathered up armfuls of awards as THE breakthrough artist of the moment.

Her follow-up will surely even exceed those achievements, and establish the wildly talented young tunesmith as one of her generation's most beloved pop heroines. Eighteen months in the making, 'Anxiety' carries ten instant classics, each brimming over with irresistable hooks, fresh beats and ear-grabbing synth sounds.

So far, so Ladyhawke, but changes are afoot. The last album's signature instrument was unquestionably the analogue synthesizer. 'Ladyhawke' was all about Pip exploring the keyboards, which built the soundworld of her '80s heroes [chiefly: ELO and Fleetwood Mac]. This time, she has re-embraced the trusty implement, upon which not only the whole history of rock 'n' roll rests, but her own career, too – the electric guitar.

Before she dreamt up her solo alter ego, Pip's rep back home was as a guitarist, not an ivory-tinkler. "For years, I was known as the rock chick," she says, "because I played the Gibson Explorer guitar, and then I played a Firebird [two quintessentially rockin' models]. I was always the girl playing heavy guitar and doing solos – you know, like, off to the side." So, after touring 'Ladyhawke' around the globe, Pip decided to re-activate those skills, as the basis of a thrilling new sound for her second record.

'Anxiety' is duly awash with riffs and lovingly distorted guitar textures, bringing added energy and excitement to her insanely catchy melodies. 'Blue Eyes', for instance, features pulse-racing blasts of six-string noize, a wiggy solo, and a "na-na" chorus, all harking back to the age of glam-rock, and one of Pip's absolute idols, Joan Jett. The title track's refrain, meanwhile, hinges on stadium-torching chord changes, while 'Black, White & Blue' has the fuzzy, disorientated vibe of a 1966 proto-psychedelic garage-rock nugget, plus another hot, spangly solo!

With such inventive and hyper-melodic gems laced throughout, 'Anxiety' is shaping up as one of 2012's biggest albums. More delirium, anyone?

Casey Spooner

Fischerspooner is an art pop performance project created and helmed by Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner that makes music, dance, fashion, film and photography. Their work fuses fine art and pop culture, as in their renowned outsider pop shows bursting with stage effects presented in both art galleries and traditional concert halls. Their full-length albums of music include #1, a punked-up digital party record trussed with conceptual lyrics; and Odyssey, a rich emotional fantasia with a deep, expansive sound. Fischerspooner's third album Entertainment, a sophisticated pop epic bubbling with hooks, was released in May, 2009.


The debut self-titled EP from Australian quintet Gold Fields bursts forth from the speakers with a freshness that cannot be denied. The band's first single "Treehouse" opens the setwith a glossy slice of pop etched with tribal drums. With a rush and a push of propulsive percussion and tribal textures, "Moves" provokes dance-inducing enthusiasm, even as its evolving lyrical hook lures the ear into a Trans-Pacific game of telephone. Percolating with pops and claps, the syncopated rhythms and shifting dynamics of "The Woods" evoke the otherworldly ambience of venturing deep into the wilderness, slivers of light contrasting with singer Mark Fuller's shadowy incantations of "I wish we knew how to play safe." Compare those three cuts with "Holy No," a sinewy, slow-motion funk groove that creeps along on cat feet of wah-wah guitar and sinister keyboards. While all four selections are audibly the work of the same band, each boasts a distinctive character—just as Gold Fields intended. "From the beginning, we made it a big point to make every song sound different," says guitarist Vin Andanar. "We didn't want to be pigeonholed as part of any scene or specific sound." Instead, they concentrated on creating original music that met their own high standards and was fun to play. That's not as easy as it might seem. Not when your band is comprised of five avid music lovers with individual tastes. That disparity accounts for Gold Fields' eclectic sound, but also sets up challenges when developing new ideas. "We're not going to release a song until everybody in the band is happy with it."Luckily, Gold Fields is pretty harmonious lot, the result of friendships that predate the band's formation in early 2010. Growing up in Ballarat, a Victorian era boomtown about an hour's drive west of Melbourne, the five lads attended school together starting around age 12. While that camaraderie is the glue that bonds Gold Fields, this was no leisurely idyll or excuse to hang out. From the outset they were dead serious about reaching a wider audience.Rather than claw their way up through the club scene, the quintet concentrated on writing and recording the best original material they could. Once they'd fashioned a six-song demo, they sought out professionals to help refine their sound and steer their career. After meticulous research, and a bit of well-intentioned deception on Mark's part, they secured representation with Australian management group Archangelsky. Producer Scott Horscroft (The Presets, Sleepy Jackson, Silverchair) polished up their home recordings, giving birth to the ebullient debut single "Treehouse" plus the material showcased on this EP. With support from alternative radio tastemakers Triple J, Gold Fields was soon playing dates at the Falls Festival, Field Day, Groovin The Moo and Parklife, as well as support slots for Crystal Castles, Datarock, and Pnau. They've also gone down a storm at intimate venues in Los Angeles and London, where the band supported SBTRKT and The Naked and Famous. Wherever they are, the band members push themselves to give audiences their money's worth… and then some. "We really like to have fun on stage and get into the show," says Vin. Rather than painstakingly reproducing their recordings, they use the studio versions as jumping off points for new arrangements, in hopes that fans will come see them live just to hear what happens next. In late summer of 2011, Gold Fields spent six weeks in Los Angeles working with producer Mickey Petralia (Beck, Ladytron, Peaches). Upon returning home, they retreated to a remote manor on a farm and continued writing more songs, which they subsequently recorded with Horscroft. The resulting debut full-length is slated for international release later in 2012. But please, don't wait till then to check out Gold Fields. At the rate this fivepiece is evolving, you might never catch up to them if you don't start now.

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