Jan 31 2016

CM Top Albums of 2015: Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

courtneybarnettThe legendary Jabes was the first to chime: as the resident Australian aficionado of Cougar Microbes, naturally my top is Melbourne‘s own Courtney Barnett. More of a spoken word artist than a singer, Barnett sing-speaks the truth through her poetry. Highlighting our everyday indecisions, on “Nobody Really Cares if You Go To The Party” she specifically details to common inner battles we all have with the fear of missing out, and not wanting to bother putting on a smile for anyone. Backing her vocals with a gritty garage-rock guitar, Barnett has managed to turn witty lyrics cool again

Yifat added: Everything is brilliant about this album, starting from the title. Listening to it in its entirety feels like spending an hour with Courtney herself, listening to daily situations and some of her own perspective of the world. The brilliance is in the way she could put her music around her witty lyrics, and the result is one of the best albums of this year and maybe of this decade so far in my mind.




Jan 24 2015

Money For Rope release “Easy Way Out” Single


Having achieved notable success in their native Australia, “Rock’n’Roll Surf Garage” collective Money For Rope serve up their first UK single release in ‘Easy Way Out’. Groove meets grit in this intense laid-back but poignant bluesy, rock number about not topping yourself. That’s good advice.

The music sits somewhere in-between the earthy skuzz of Ty Segall and the surfy haze of The Growlers with a healthy dose of Mando Diao‘s dirty euphoria. There’s also a nice B-Side (still a thing, apparently) in ‘Nova Pilota’ which will have you reminiscing of Vietnam circa 1967 in a purple haze of the Doors.

Also make sure you check out the video for “Easy Way Out” .

An album is scheduled for release early 2015 – get amongst it



Jan 17 2015

CM Top Albums of 2014: Flight Facilities – Down To Earth

flight facilites down to earth

Down To Earth goes in every direction you can ask it to go in, while still maintaining the same dreamlike playfulness that gives Flight Facilities its significance. Their first full length album finally encompass all of the beautiful singles they’ve released over the last 4 years (“Crave You,” “Claire de Lune“), as well as new tracks fans were waiting impatiently for.  Highlights include “Sunshine” with infusions of funk from the likes of Reggie Watts, a healthy dose of 80s vibes on “Hold Me Down,” and the unexpected taste of hip hop on “Why Do You Feel” with a gentle rap line from Bishop Nehru.  You definitely will want to take off with Flight Facilities.


Words by Amanda Jabes




Jan 12 2015

CM Top Albums of 2014: Chet Faker – Built On Glass


With a notably rich, soulful voice, Chet Faker slid onto the scene by way of Flume. Embracing electronic influences, and infusing R&B vocal lines, the Australian singer carved a space for himself with his first full album ‘Built on Glass‘.  The dark atmospheric beats and sweet slow grooves leave a taste in your mouth we haven’t come across since The Weeknd first hit the scene.  It’s all too fitting that he hashtagged #sex onto multiple soundcloud tracks he posted from the album.


Words by Amanda Jabes




Dec 8 2014

CMJ Music Marathon 2014: Day 1 (Saskwatch, Madison LST, Moses Sumney, Shirley House & Cold War Kids)


This year’s CMJ was nothing short of spectacular for Cougar Microbes.  Braving the cold weather and the rain, we meandered through the downtown Manhattan and East Brooklyn areas to see as many of the new up and coming artists as possible.  From the coveted SoFar Sounds showcases and The Kills, to the late night dance parties with Made In Heights and Saint Pepsi, to catching the promising performances by BORNS, we covered it all.  As always, we were left tired, happy, and wanting more, thanks again CMJ!



We kicked off our CMJ experience with an early 1pm visit for Piano’s Kick Off Party to see Saskwatch play what was the first of several of the band’s appearances over the week. Playing numerous tracks from their 2014 “Nose Dive” release the Australian multi-membered behemoth offered highlight after highlight with frontwoman Nkechi Anele commanding the spotlight throughout. The timely horn interjection made the performance soar in spite of the early hour.


Upon hearing about SoFar Sounds, I immediately submitted my name and crossed fingers that I would be one of the lucky few selected for their highly coveted guest list for any one of their five secret CMJ shows. When I was approved for Tuesday night’s showcase located “somewhere on the LES,” I blindly abandoned my CMJ schedule for the night, without knowing who I was seeing or where I was even seeing them. After receiving my email with the location, I arrived 20 minutes early, bounding up the stairs to the 3rd floor apartment with the excitement of a little kid getting a new puppy. I entered the vast living room on the Bowery, and found the artist list and set times hanging on the refrigerator on the kitchen. I did not care that I had never heard of any of the 4 bands performing, I was too awestruck over the enormous size of the apartment, and the one man (Moses Sumney) sound checking soulfully, playing his electric guitar, and cooing into the microphone. As if I hadn’t already known, once I plopped down on the couch right next to the “stage,” I knew this was going to be an unforgettable night.


Madison LST

Immediately explaining that LST stands for Light Skinned Trouble, Madison took the attention of the living room of 50 people, with his drummer playing a cajón, and an acoustic guitarist at his side. Madison started spitting clever and gripping raps about life, love, and everything in between. The highlight of his set was when SoFar veteran Kiah Victoria joined for “The World,” to lend her dulcet vocals for background fill-in, punctuating his best lines, and of course a dangerously catchy hook.


Moses Sumney

While perched on a stool behind the microphone the soft-spoken Moses Sumney lured his audience to float away with him, lured by his angelic falsetto.
Mesmerizing the tiny audience with his vocals as rich and smooth as molasses, Moses‘ sound filled the entire apartment with an incomparable magic. His quick fingers picking at the electric guitar were such a sight to see up close, and it made the whole experience that much more fascinating.

shirley house

Shirley House

Still on the high from the SoFar Sounds set, we wandered over to the Bowery Electric just in time to catch Shirley House and see yet another truly unique performance. Lead singer Samuel Smith doesn’t only command the stage with his powerful falsetto, but he also dances with the swagger of a pop-star. It’s practically unheard of to have backup dancers at CMJ, but with their electro-pop afrocentric beats à la M.I.A. Shirley House left an impression on their entire audience, and it was more than good.


Cold War Kids

It’s amazing to think that Californian’s Cold War Kids have been around for close to a decade. Seeing them on stage they look like a band who are just starting out having the time of their lives. With a setlist that sounded more like a greatest hits set, peppered with tracks from the freshly released “Hold My Home” album. With a packed Brooklyn Bowl all screaming the lyrics to “We Used To Vacation” things could indeed be much worse,

Words by Amanda Jabes and Boaz

Jun 29 2014

Big Scary live @ Mercury Lounge, New York City

Big Scs

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I was lucky enough to catch Big Scary at Mercury Lounge in late April, while on their tour around the States promoting their new album ‘Not Art‘. Opening for Say Hi, Tom Iansek and Jo Syme graced the crowd with a mix of new tracks off their aforementioned latest album, such as “Phil Collins,” and “Invest,” alongside some more older upbeat favorites from ‘Vacation‘ including “Gladiator.” A true gem off of the recent album would have to be their first released single “Twin Rivers” which displays Tom‘s phenomenal piano skills. Seeing him slide his fingers across the piano creating an illusive sound of wind chimes is a true display of his mastery of the craft. Continue reading

Jun 2 2014

SXSW- Day 4 (Feat. Creepoid, Lion Babe, Kishi Bashi, Terry Poison, Holy Ghost! & Cut Copy)

SXSW Fans (Cougarmicrobes.com)

Cougar Microbes headed to Austin, TX to experience SXSW 2014 in all it’s glory. Over the course of 4 days we witnessed some phenomenal performances in venues all around town covering every genre and sub-genre imaginable. As we had anticipated in our festival preview piece some of the biggest highlights came from those artists we weren’t expecting.

This is how it went…

Creepoid SXSW

Creepoid – Sailor Jerry House
We set off with a hint of preemptive nostalgia knowing that this would be the last day but thanks to Creepoid’s alternative rock we were soon re energised. Taking inspiration from early 90’s hero such as the Pixies, Sonic Youth as well as the timeless My Bloody Valentine saw this Philadelphia four piece knock us off our feet with how loud they were playing . The individual members each appeared to be entranced by the sounds they were producing providing an electric live performance that bordered on an exorcism.

SXSW Lion Babe (Cougarmicrobes.com).JPG

Lion Babe– Butler Park

With the weather having been wet and cold over the previous couple of days it was a welcome relief that our walk over to Butler Park was bathed in sunshine. This was ideal to sit in the grass and catch Lion Babe, whom we have been biggin up for a while, going about seducing a huge crowd. Jillian Hervey, flanked by by trusted producer Lucas Goodman, starts her performance offering complex yoga poses before beginning Indie Beyonce performance. The duo grow in confidence with every track with “Treat Me Like Fire” proving to be a sure fire hit. If the audience were possibly unaware of Lion Babe before they hit the stage they were definitely well aware after.

SXSW Kishi Bashi (Cougarmicrobes.com).JPG

Kishi Bashi – Cheer Up Charlie’s

Cheer Up Charlie’s was full to the brim when Kishi Bashi hit the stage and it wasn’t just because of the venues fabled Golden Ticket drink. On paper elements of electronica, a banjo, rock n roll drums and a violin should not mix… but Kishi Bashi, formerly a member of Of Montreal, not only makes it work but creates some wonderful musical moments sounding like a euphoric Beirut. While it is clear the man is a violin virtuoso it’s Kishi Bashi’s warm vocals that won us and the packed crowd over leaving everyone hugely thankful to have witnessed this euphoric show

SXSW Terry Poison (Cougarmicrobes.com).JPG

Terry Poison – Speakeasy

For Tel Aviv based Terry Poison this is a return to Austin and they seemed hungrier than ever. Their music has gone through a few variations over the years but this updated lean lineup seems meaner than ever. With their apocalyptic electro-pop finely paced for this kind of performance frontwoman Louise oozed confidence as she danced around in a floral one piece without missing a note. At one point she climbed up on to one of the dinner tables which seems like the signal for several phones to pop out to immortalise the act. Guitarist/Keyboardist Anna seemed entranced by the show dropping calculated notes and provided a perfect vocal foil to Louise while bassist Bruno was coolness personified keeping the band fine tuned throughout. A superb cover of Lana Del Rey’s ”Blue Jeans” was possibly only surpassed by their own brilliant single “Gorgeous” which saw the room explode in unison.

SXSW Holy Ghost (Cougarmicrobes.com)

Holy Ghost – Samsung Presents @ Milk Music Box

Holy Ghost! stage set up was awe inspiring and that was before a single note was played. With a backdrop of electronics and instruments the normally spacious stage at Milk Music Box seemed absolutely crowded. The 6 people on stage where each kitted out with their own synth keyboard and each ready to deliver their excellent post-dance racket. Credit has to go out to key members Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel who like the instruments around them were positively electric. Frankel was especially lively alternating between crooning, drumming enthusiastically and hitting keys multiple times delivering the ultimate performance. . With so much energy on display the venues floor was rightfully shaking.

SXSW CUT COPY (cougarmicrobes.com)

Cut Copy -Samsung Presents @ Milk Music Box

As endings go few could have been more spectacular than catching Australian dance outfit Cut Copy at their euphoric best. This show was an authentic revelation with new and old gems peppering the set to scintillating results. The bands jaw dropping performance was as powerful as anything I’d ever seen. Guitarist Tim Hoey deserved particular praise bringing to mind a certain Jonny Greenwood with his introvert/extrovert delivery regardless of whether he was assaulting his guitar, accurately beating a synth or simply offering a solo from deep within the crowd.

Frontman Dan Whitford could be justified for feeling euphoric while overseeing the thing that he had started as a bedroom project soaring through the speakers. As the band’s mantra and recent album title ‘Free Your Mind’ flashed on the neon screens behind the 4 piece the audience took this to heart and participated in the best rave to happen in the entire country tonight.

This concludes our SXSW coverage for 2014 but we can’t wait to be back in 2015. Austin has once again offered the most fun and fulfilling festival experience we have been exposed to and we were delighted to be a part of it. Keep Austin weird!


Feb 19 2014

Mixmag debut’s Audiofly’s ‘Excuse My Wildness’ (Carl Craig Remix)


And…. We’re back. After a small hiatus due in part to “real” jobs catching up with us and also that bastard Top Albums of 2013.

Here’s a new remix from Carl Craig for Australian minimal kings Audiofly‘s “Excuse My Wildness“. Don’t be fooled by the title, this is a lesson in control and dynamics that we can’t get enough of.