New Music

Listen: Fatti Frances – Lie For Me


Here’s a strange development: the Fatti Frances LP we were talking about a little while back has been abandoned. Well, abandoned in a fashion: writing on her Facebook page, Ms. Fatti said that since she’s moved on artistically, she’s lost all desire to give it a proper release. As a result, she’s put it up as a download on her Bandcamp page, aka the “abyss of the internet,” and judging from a cursory listen (I still haven’t let it sink in properly) it’s better than the new Strokes album, which was recently released to widespread critical adulation and is currently streaming on Spotify, where millions will listen while posting images of Jack Nicholson (along with pithy / hilarious made up quotes) on Tumblr. There is no justice in the world – it’s working directly against your interests. Just know that.

Anyway, Lie For Me was recorded with WORNG guy Morgan McWaters, and was meant to get an LP release some time this year, according to formerly accurate sources. All we can do now is listen to this and wonder what FF is writing to replace it.


Fatti Frances – Sweaty (Cassette)

fattifrances1Sweaty sounds like lust viewed through a fractured lense. On ‘My Man’, Melbourne’s Fatti Frances offers a series of set pieces suggestive of common and very human desire, yet the productions they accompany are cold and steel-coloured: impenetrable and inhuman. This six track cassette – a series of the producer’s more “experimental” takes – vendors dread even while it yearns for warmth and contact. At times the productions sound predatory in their skittishness and refusal to succumb.

There are plenty of precedents to this: Fatti Frances’ approach is reminiscent of some of Rhythm and Sound’s vocal-driven productions, but also the anxiety-stricken love songs heard on King Midas Sound’s 2010 LP Waiting For You. Frances’ productions aren’t as precision-engineered (the bass sometimes feels less assertive than it could be) but the compositional nous is here, and so are the narcoleptic textures and hallucinatory noir shades. Smoke, rain, and tobacco orange skylines at 4am in the morning.

Most fascinating is Frances’ vocals. Always on the verge of a whisper, they tease quiet avenues through the network of forbidding sound, even while in their soulfulness and humanity they’re totally at odds with it. ‘So Bad’ is the one instance where the two elements sound in harmony: a strong desirous refrain supported by an ambivalent bass pulse; an unrequited desire imprisoned in a metal cube. That seems to be the prevailing theme across these six tracks: advances shrugged away, soft gazes met with blank stares. Steely, mechanical detachment in the face of warmth.

This is one of the strangest and most alluring pop records of 2012, so it feels like an injustice that thousands of people won’t hear it due to its format. At a time when Australian music is widely regarded as a paradise of middle class whimsy and jangle, the fact that our air is capable of cultivating music like this is reassuring. If Sweaty is indeed just a cast-off collection of experiments in the lead up to a full-length LP next year, then hopefully the world doesn’t end next week like the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar has predicted. That would be lame.

Label: Heavy Lows
Release date: November 2012

New Music

Listen: Fatti Frances – Sweaty EP

Fatti Frances‘ promised 2012 cassette release is upon us, via new Melbourne label Heavy Lows. Fatti Frances (her real name is Raquel Solider) has played in bands ranging Oh! Belgium through to The Ancients, but this sounds like neither of those groups, nor anything else she’s (to my knowledge) been involved with. Sweaty is crisp and tormented future r’n’b: the textures are luxurious but the beats sound restless and anxiety-ridden. These productions are genuinely, beautifully frightening in their alien erraticness, conjuring a kind of lonely urban ennui that makes me want to get in the car and drive the city’s back streets all night.

For all the foreignness of the productions though, Frances’ vocals are very soulful. I can imagine this fitting nicely on UK label Hyperdub, maybe somewhere between Cooly G and King Midas Sound. Whatever the case, listen to the whole EP below. Review coming soon.

New Music

Listen: Fatti Frances – So Bad

A new Fatti Frances demo, presumably from a forthcoming release. If you listened to her 12 inch from last year, you’ll remember a fondness for grainy basslines sitting just shy of distortion. On ‘So Bad’, Frances has pulled that element back, resulting in something a lot quieter and 4am-esque. The restless percussion suggests some kind of inevitable, sinister culmination, but nothing of the sort eventuates: it’s all the more dramatic for teasing that expectation out.

There’s an undeniable tension here. The jagged, less celebratory facets of desire: anxiety, sleeplessness. Staring out the window with the lights out, a stiff silhouette on the corner staring back.