Melbourne’s City Calm Down are a band close to my heart. Music bloggers will know exactly what I’m talking about. Amid all the familiar band names we write about in regard to the quality of a release, there are those bands we quietly champion. In part, because you feel like you have a bit of stake in spreading the wealth, so to speak. I felt that way about Braids, Daughter, Cold Specks (formerly Basket of Figs), Dark Mean, and The xx — especially when the small-blog push helped the latter’s music grab the attention of sites like Pitchfork.com, Rolling Stone, and eventually festivals like SXSW. But with City Calm Down I feel even closer.
I first wrote about them back in 2010, after they produced a self-titled debut that was clearly one of the best releases of the year. Lead singer Jack Bourke was humble enough to answer some questions from me, which you can read in an archived interview. The band’s sound scales the best of 80s rhythms with a real romanticized rock style. Within these little diamonds, Bourke’s voice provides the perfect balance. The music is effervescent, jangly, tender, and finely paced. Bourke’s vocals bring everything down to earth, grounding the dreamy, hyper-synth music with a gritty kind of realism. Older tracks like “Lost. Trapped”, find Bourke sounding like a lighter cross between Peter Murphy and Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr, with a touch of Ian Curtis. This is another band that just needs to be heard by more listeners who recognize their quality. They have a new track, “Pleasure and Consequence”, from off an upcoming November 2nd release, “Movements”. It finds the band in great form. They’ve still got that nostalgic edge, but have added cool falsetto backing vocals to their repertoire — giving the track a feel like U2, circa “Zooropa”. Of course, that’s just a comment on one element of the song. Overall, the sound of “Pleasure and Consequence” has more in common with 80s-pop and new wave. It shows a band hitting on all cylinders, modifying their sound, yet keeping everything that was good intact. Note: You can follow the band at facebook, twitter, and soundcloud. Click here to read archived Their Bated Breath posts about the band. — David D. Robbins Jr.