New Music Of The Day: City Calm Down – Son (NME Premiere)

Melbourne is a hotbed of musical activity right now – from Courtney Barnett to Dorsal Fins, Jaala and countless others. But nobody sounds quite like City Calm Down.

The fourpiece, who are based in the city, are a slick proposition live following years of spit’n’sawdust gigs – decked out all in black, they performed at Brisbane’s BigSound festival recently and turned heads with a synth-heavy, ambitious set that sounded like all the best bits of ‘90s New Order and ‘00s Killers. On new single ‘Son’, the track we’re premiering on NME Under The Radar today, they take that blueprint to the hilt.

It’s all about the way singer Jack Bourke’s voice intertwines with Samuel Mullaly’s organ, alongside the off-kilter chorus that kicks in around the one minute mark. From there the band drop in some nifty backing vocals that remind me of the intricacy of Haim’s debut last year, before it goes all Beach Boys for about five seconds and then starts over again. Like I said, they’re an ambitious bunch.


‘Son’ is taken from City Calm Down’s debut album, In A Restless House, which is due out via Australian label I Oh You on November 6. They’re on tour in support of it throughout October too, playing the following dates:

Fri 2 Oct, Howler, Melbourne
Sat 3 Oct, Howler, Melbourne
Fri 9 Oct, Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Sat 10 Oct, Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
Fri 16 Oct, Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Fri 30 Oct, Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Meanwhile, read NME’s report on BigSound 2015 now – aka Australia’s key new music festival, and their equivalent of SXSW or The Great Escape.