Posts Tagged ‘ernest ellis’

Great Sky from Ernest Ellis & The Panamas on Vimeo.

Ernest Ellis released what ended up becoming one of myfavourite albums from last year (despite my somewhat critical review…), and he’s back again with another great track. Now preferring to be called Ernest Ellis & The Panamas to incorporate his backing band a bit more, ‘Great Sky’ is one of the first tracks from their upcoming album.


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For some unknown reason I decided to ditch my well-laid plans and decided to just stick to the Artisan Gallery Outdoor stage for Big Sound Live’s Thursday night events. I’m pretty glad I did too, as the line up ended up being better than I recalled. I found the vibe of the outdoor stage a lot better than I had for the indoor venues on the Wednesday night. It was a lot more relaxed and people seemed more willing to move around. It didn’t seem as packed out as it did during Hungry Kids of Hungary’s set on Wednesday, but there was a constant flow of people coming throughout the night.

The night started with Richard in your Mind. The band has always been labelled as psychedelic, but there is a lot more to these guys than extended jams and trippy guitar effects. I could have watched them for a lot longer than just a 30 minute set – strong basslines, rhythmic drum beats, funk guitars and the most exciting and energetic frontman I’ve seen in ages.

It was synths galore when New Zealand act The Naked and Famous took the stage. The seemingly mismatched five piece actually produced a pretty decent sound, despite the fact that they didn’t seem too confident in themselves. Their nerves weren’t helped when the bass cut out mid way through the third song though – apparently due to noise complaints from surrounding neighbours. Despite this their set was extremely enjoyable. People around me seemed to know a few of their songs, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Punching in a Dream’ and I was glad to see people actually singing along which doesn’t normally happen at smaller local shows much anymore.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Ernest Ellis fan. I did enjoy his/their (because the name applies to both the solo artist and the whole band apparently) set, but I will admit that it wasn’t the best for Big Sound Live. As usual ‘Pulse’ detoured and became the middle section of ‘The End’ by the Doors. In a normal set I don’t mind this, but I think for a 30 minute set that is supposed to showcase your own original talent, it was time wasted. The rest of the set was pretty standard, ploughing through their well known songs, ‘Want for Anything’, ‘Loveless’ and ‘Heading for the Cold’. Ellis has a pretty diverse album that he never really seems to take advantage of live, which is a shame. One day maybe.

I really want to like Last Dinosaurs more. This was the third time I had seen them, and I still got that same feeling as I had the previous two times. They play well and their songs are good, but there is nothing fantastic about them. They don’t move me in the way that other music does. Songs like ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Alps’ are always good to listen to, but the rest of the set was just too average.

Sydney band Parades was easily the highlight of my Big Sound Live experiences. Their sound was incredibly lush, and pretty different to anything I had heard over the two nights. Strong in vocals harmonies, and musical influences from post rock, jazz and indie pop I really wouldn’t know what to label them as which is one of the things I love most about them. Their live set was seemingly flawless, calm but with a good amount of energy for the style. I would have to say that there were my best ‘new’ find of the event.

Overall no, I don’t think that the acts I saw over the two nights were a showcase of Australia’s best and original talent. I think it was a better representation of what has been popular so far this year. I think that Brisbane could have been better represented, especially considering the event was held here. It was also disappointing to think back about the Brisbane bands I did see and realise they were some of my least favourite acts of the event. But the event succeeded in introducing me to some new bands, and for the most part I had fun and enjoyed each act I saw to varying degrees. And isn’t that supposed to be the point of live music anyway?

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Ernest Ellis’ debut album Hunting is likely to drawn comparisons to Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. Both were written when each artist decided to hole themselves up in a cabin in the mountains. I’ve read a lot of reviews that have pretty much just said Ellis was ‘copying’ Bon Iver in doing this and attempting to make a great record in forced conditions. But wouldn’t you want to escape to the mountains with just your thoughts and a guitar when you’re going through a rough patch (whatever it may have been for him)? Intentions aside though; Hunting is a beautiful album in its own right. It’s a difficult album to pin down though. It’s unique without really being unique at all.

Stylistically the album wanders. Ellis manages to avoid being comfortably labeled into one genre, and it’s surprising that it works so well. The album lacks cohesion but doesn’t sound messy. Hunting opens with ‘Loveless’ which is a gorgeous layered indie pop song, and there are plainer acoustic guitar and vocal tracks such as ‘Valley Song’. ‘I Am the Beast’ and ‘Bad Blood’ shift into an almost electronic tracks and ‘When I Feel Like Jesus’ Son The World Will Feel Much Different’ is almost psychedelic rock. Vocally, Ernest is able to adapt to all of these styles wonderfully ranging from pitch perfect falsetto to a swooning, almost Jim Morrison style of singing.

Each style works pretty well for Ellis and as I said while it doesn’t sound messy it does make the album drag a bit. Clocking in at almost an hour, it feels much longer than it actually is due the fact that you feel like you’re listening to several different albums all in one go. Hunting is one of the most unique records I have heard all year, and Ellis was a joy to watch live. I can’t wait to see what else he brings out.

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Local lads Disco Nap began the night with an acoustic set. Normally a four piece, tonight the band was just vocals and guitar with synths. The two-piece ran through a few of the band’s songs, including ‘False Teeth’ and ‘The Soft Cell’, interspersed with somewhat awkward stage banter. A sad, though amusing, story about a missing cat, who is aptly named Donnie Darko brought lead singer Ross Hope to dedicate ‘Don’t You Miss Her’ to the cat. It was a relaxed feel for the sparse crowd, and a pretty good way to ease into the night.

Lion Island took the stage next, with all of the members of the band barely fitting on together. Between three guitars, bass, drums, trumpet and violin they had a fantastic energy. The band is likely to draw comparisons to the Arcade Fire for obvious reasons, and they could easily match that grandeur. With seamless transitions between styles of folk and indie rock with jazz undertones, their live show was seemingly perfect. Confident and attention grabbing, they were relaxed and natural.

Next up were Ball Park Music, who began their set with the ballad, ‘Western Whirl’. Featuring just guitar with male and female vocals, it was a very interesting way to kick things off. They powered through their set, which included tracks from their latest EP, such as ‘Sea Strangers’ and ‘iFly’ as well as older tracks like ‘All I Want Is You’. It was an energetic set which showed off the bands talents, and they were actually the first band of the night to get people standing up and dancing along. We even got to witness some new material, with some of these new tracks sounding really promising.

Ernest Ellis took the stage with full backing band for his first headlining show in Brisbane. Opening with ‘Want for Anything’, it was obvious that this set would be a very different sound to that of his album. Ellis’ style is difficult to pinpoint. On record is it folk inspired indie rock with ambient synths backing traditional guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Tonight the synths seem to sit on the backburner, and a much stronger focus on the indie rock side of the band shone through.

Next song ‘Pulse’ detoured mid-way through into a hypnotising rendition ‘The End’ by The Doors and then back to normal after a bit of a jam. Ellis performed ‘Valley Song’ acoustically, backed only by tambourine and light backing vocals. It was fairly reminiscent of the way Conor Oberst performs acoustically – heart on sleeve for all to see. ‘Heading for the Cold’ and ‘Loveless’ closed off the set beautifully, with the crowd swaying along and enjoying the atmosphere. All in all the set was far too short; especially considering his debut album reaches almost an hour. While enjoyable, it definitely left many wanting more.
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Who is he? Ernest Ellis

Where is he from? Sydney

What does he play? modern folk

You’ll like him if you like: Bon Iver

Ernest Ellis has been a bit of a buzz name since his album dropped a few weeks ago. The guy has managed to make a gorgeous, modern folk record. Much more than just vocal and guitar, Ernest has embraced modern technology to include reverb and layering to make a pretty unique sound. As you would gather from a quick Google search, Ellis wrote the album while holed up in the Blue Mountains by himself and I would say that this had a definite impact making the tracks quite intimate to listen to.

He’s playing this Saturday at the Troubadour – I’ll be there so much sure to come over and say hi if you see me!

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