Blackchords
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Blackchords

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | SELF

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | SELF
Band Rock Pop

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Jun
15
Blackchords @ The Bended Elbow

Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Jun
01
Blackchords @ Spectrum

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

May
31
Blackchords @ Bottle Rocket Bar

Nowra, New South Wales, Australia

Nowra, New South Wales, Australia

Music

Press


"Blackchords have survived a tumultuous time to produce an amazing album that will surely win them many more dedicated fans than they already have. In a world where so many are resorting to simple imitation in a vain attempt to become the next big thing, Blackchords have harnessed their obvious influences to produce something that stands tall among them." - Tim Burke - Album Review


The night is a showcase for Blackchords – a sort of ‘chapter swan song’ before they take their music to the great (Parisian) unknown – and they aren’t taking it lightly. A string section assembles (a couple of the guys from True Live) for that special something and under electric candelabras made of gold tulips, they are tremendous.

Great drums and bass strike me first, as well as a vocal clarity and strength immediately reminiscent of Bernard Fanning, and much better. Epic and considered arrangements; emotive yet neat and tidy: intros, breakouts, bridges, come downs, all right where they should be.

Switch has a quiet, wooden drumstick intro, then Blackchords are balls deep into it. I have a quick flash of Josh Pyke in a giant guitar, but this is darker in mood than JP in a fisherman’s hat.

They wish to play 22, a journey of a song that is one of my new favourites. Quite dreamy and (dare I go there) Jeff Buckley-ish. Nick Milwright, he of the familiar timbre, nearly begs people to fill the expansive parquetry dancefloor (which has plagued every act with it’s brash reflectiveness). 22 is more torch music than dance music but there is the air of farewell; a group forms on the dancefloor, naturally wrapping their arms around each others shoulders as the keyboard evokes strings.

There’s some twangy, country guitar and leaving-home-spring in-my-step rhythm section action, as always accompanied by deliciously clear and elongated vocals. There’s a new and nameless song that, ‘Hopefully, it won’t make us look too dorky when we get to France.’ A church organ pipes from their keyboard as though a distant relative of Whiter Shade Of Pale and I am swept away by (I think) the first genuine guitar solo of Blackchords’ set. As delighted as I am by the solo, it’s well and truly capped by Milwright. He’s not keeping anything in reserve and he peaks, peaks and feather floats down.

These Lights is an astounding crafted beauty – which oddly enough, reminds me of something Nick Lovell might write – and the inclusion of on-stage strings is sublime. Everyone’s come in from the foyer. The dancefloor crowd has doubled for Diplomat and trebled for Raise My Hands plaintive strings, country pace and divine ending.

Milwright goes solo on a hauntingly moving number – we’re now too far into storybook territory to go back. Honestly, is it a creative cop out for me to simply say Blackchords have a beautifully cinematic song book in their carry-on? The feeling and depth in these songs can’t be expressed in individual songs – it’s in the collection and performance. Heartstrings are pulled. Imaginative, husky accents are spoken. A violin solo shines in the same light as a guitar solo.

It really is all a bit sad. The air of ‘good-bye’ and melancholy is palpable and the worst thing about it all is that you’ll have to now travel to Paris to hear At World’s End live. (It would actually be worth it.)

Broken Bones still carries ghosts and with thank you’s to Matheson and Lovell who’s ‘been an inspiration to me and who is an amazing songwriter and an amazing guy,’ I note a lyric that sounds suspiciously like, ‘Yesterday I was king. Today I’m not sure.’ Blackchords: all signs point to new crowns. - Faster Louder


“Melbourne quartet shoot for the stars on widescreen debut. From out of nowhere four piece, Blackchords, tick all the boxes and more.” - Album Review


"Arriving in 1994 and 1995 respectively, Jeff Buckley's Grace and Radiohead's The Bends are two of modern rock's most influential albums. Just how influential? Well, it's 2009 and their shadow still looms large over new releases such as Blackchords' self-titled debut. The Melbourne quartet, fronted by vocalist and songwriter Nick Milwright, have qualities that overlap with their forebears: the tender invocation of Buckley's music that verged on the spiritual, or Radiohead's artful confluence of guitars that jump-cut from the panoramic to the bitter. The similarities occur with neither fuss nor force - the sweet frequencies of Diplomat or the acoustic yearning of Raise My Hands sound like a band at ease with their sound. The odd eccentricity is welcome and the shortcomings are not fatal. The group has tried to craft soundscapes on a lo-fi budget, and Milwright's lyrics could do with the sharpness that the guitars enjoy. Still, there's enough here to enjoy the references without being crushed in comparison. Album two will be the real test." - Craig Mathieson - Album Review




Blackchords are a band from Melbourne fronted by songwriter Nick Milwright. Their self-titled debut album Blackchords comes out in Europe in October. Widely-acclaimed at home, we were won over by this, the album opener. Their widescreen, Americana-tinged sound is never more ambitious than on this, which will be the first single. UK dates are planned for next month. JF London gig: September 11, The Good Ship NW6 / October 9 Pure Groove Records EC1 - At World's End


"Upon first listening to Blackchords' self-titled debut I was baffled; how could I have not have heard of these guys before now? The combination of their epic songwriting and some polished to perfection production make Blackchords, in my opinion one of the best bands that no-one has ever heard of. They are the perfect home-grown alternative to esteemed acts like Radiohead and Coldplay, whom Blackchords have obviously got a lot of inspiration from. The album itself flows very well, ranging from beat-driven to multi-layered ballads all delivered with emotion. If you are a fan of the aforementioned bands or want to keep up with the local scene than I highly recommend picking up a copy of Blackchords' debut. Keep an eye on these guys, you may well see them move onto bigger and better things." Sam Eckhardt - Album Review


"Hot new talent from Australia, 'Blackchords' is one of those records that surprises upon learning of its debut nature, such is its accomplished sound and depth of material. It's masterminded by Nick Milwright, who has steered the band from alt.couuntry beginnings through ..Explosions In The Sky instrumental excursions to the group's current contemporary indie sound. A very exciting surprise from Down Under." - Unspecified


"Upon first listening to Blackchords' self-titled debut I was baffled; how could I have not have heard of these guys before now? The combination of their epic songwriting and some polished to perfection production make Blackchords, in my opinion one of the best bands that no-one has ever heard of. They are the perfect home-grown alternative to esteemed acts like Radiohead and Coldplay, whom Blackchords have obviously got a lot of inspiration from. The album itself flows very well, ranging from beat-driven to multi-layered ballads all delivered with emotion. If you are a fan of the aforementioned bands or want to keep up with the local scene than I highly recommend picking up a copy of Blackchords' debut. Keep an eye on these guys, you may well see them move onto bigger and better things." Sam Eckhardt - Album Review


"You'll be won over after one listen. Imagine Interpol with their top button undone."
- At World's End


"Exactly 48 seconds into the opening track 'At World's End', you realise that this is no ordinary release. A bass pulse slides in, an angular guitar is laid on top, and you enter the debut self titled release for Blackchords. Brainchild of Melbourne songwriter Nick Milwright, Blackchords is lush and sweeping when it is called for, and just as delicate and frail in comparison. For example, 'These Lights' is minimal and raw, with production echoing Plastic Ono Band. Then the stings rush in, and it is a beautiful moment. This is one of the best Australian debut releases I have heard in a long time."
4.5/5 Kevin Bull - Imwiththeband.com - 17/03/09 - Kevin Bull


"You'll be won over after one listen. Imagine Interpol with their top button undone."
- At World's End


It’s a tricky thing, post-rock. Every artist that churns out anything half-decent is instantly slapped on with an array of fuck-off tags that usually include ridiculous claims; “Next Radiohead” this, “Jeff Buckley” that. Wading through the excess crap is no easy task, but as Saffron Edan discovers, Melbourne’s Blackchords are the real deal – no spin.

Their affable frontman, Nick Milwright proves to be just the right amount of enigma. “I’ve been so petrified to actually admit [that I wanted to be a musician] – it’s been incredible trying to do everything that I can not to play the music that I was so scared of. Things like joining the army, leaving the army, becoming a ballet dancer are very strange places to go to,” he shrugs. “It was probably having this romantic idea of doing something great, being a UN peacekeeper or something, changing the world like that. When you look down and you’ve got a gun in your hand, that’s probably not a positive step to changing the world for better.”

And ballet? “[It] was a fantastic experience, a fantastic way of expressing myself. Ballet was fantastic, but it wasn’t ‘it’ – music was it,” tells Milwright firmly.

Of course, entering the music industry in your twenties will prove a hard slog too, he explains. “There are so many great bands out there, and it’s hard to keep going when you get lots of walls put up in front of you. The Melbourne music scene is incredible. You’ve got all sorts of horrible music coming out and you’ve got sort of the best music coming out, you’ve some really original, exciting stuff and you’ve got some not so original stuff coming out.”

The aforementioned musical comparisons proved a hurdle for the Blackchords to overcome, as they set out to carve out their own niche. “When you begin making music, you start yearning to be like your idol – you want to follow in their footsteps – and you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re simply copying them,” says Milwright. “You just have to stop listening to what people tell you or thinking that you want to be someone else, [and] start thinking that you actually want to be you. That’s why I’m tackling it, to be as honest as I can be.”

After a hell of a grind, the band’s long awaited debut LP has finally come to fruition, being released amongst a veritable flood of hype.

“Now, on the eve of the releasing our first album that’s going to be distributed through Australia, we’ve just got a deal over in Europe and America,” Milwright smiles. “I guess the album’s about to be out there in the universe and so it’s really, really exciting, but it’s also a little bit terrifying.”

But Milwright and his lads have little to worry about – the debut is a stunning effort. From the gorgeous tones of piano warbler These Lights to string-drenched closer Disappear, the Blackchords’ arrival feels imminent.

“We’re now kind of looking up to the powers that be, getting the people to listen to it and give their decision about it. It means a great deal to me this album, but I’ve also made the decision that I’m not going to make music just for myself; I want all that to be out there in the world.” - by Ch 106 Tsunami Magazine


It’s a tricky thing, post-rock. Every artist that churns out anything half-decent is instantly slapped on with an array of fuck-off tags that usually include ridiculous claims; “Next Radiohead” this, “Jeff Buckley” that. Wading through the excess crap is no easy task, but as Saffron Edan discovers, Melbourne’s Blackchords are the real deal – no spin.

Their affable frontman, Nick Milwright proves to be just the right amount of enigma. “I’ve been so petrified to actually admit [that I wanted to be a musician] – it’s been incredible trying to do everything that I can not to play the music that I was so scared of. Things like joining the army, leaving the army, becoming a ballet dancer are very strange places to go to,” he shrugs. “It was probably having this romantic idea of doing something great, being a UN peacekeeper or something, changing the world like that. When you look down and you’ve got a gun in your hand, that’s probably not a positive step to changing the world for better.”

And ballet? “[It] was a fantastic experience, a fantastic way of expressing myself. Ballet was fantastic, but it wasn’t ‘it’ – music was it,” tells Milwright firmly.

Of course, entering the music industry in your twenties will prove a hard slog too, he explains. “There are so many great bands out there, and it’s hard to keep going when you get lots of walls put up in front of you. The Melbourne music scene is incredible. You’ve got all sorts of horrible music coming out and you’ve got sort of the best music coming out, you’ve some really original, exciting stuff and you’ve got some not so original stuff coming out.”

The aforementioned musical comparisons proved a hurdle for the Blackchords to overcome, as they set out to carve out their own niche. “When you begin making music, you start yearning to be like your idol – you want to follow in their footsteps – and you’re not going to be able to do that if you’re simply copying them,” says Milwright. “You just have to stop listening to what people tell you or thinking that you want to be someone else, [and] start thinking that you actually want to be you. That’s why I’m tackling it, to be as honest as I can be.”

After a hell of a grind, the band’s long awaited debut LP has finally come to fruition, being released amongst a veritable flood of hype.

“Now, on the eve of the releasing our first album that’s going to be distributed through Australia, we’ve just got a deal over in Europe and America,” Milwright smiles. “I guess the album’s about to be out there in the universe and so it’s really, really exciting, but it’s also a little bit terrifying.”

But Milwright and his lads have little to worry about – the debut is a stunning effort. From the gorgeous tones of piano warbler These Lights to string-drenched closer Disappear, the Blackchords’ arrival feels imminent.

“We’re now kind of looking up to the powers that be, getting the people to listen to it and give their decision about it. It means a great deal to me this album, but I’ve also made the decision that I’m not going to make music just for myself; I want all that to be out there in the world.” - by Ch 106 Tsunami Magazine


Discography

Self Titled Debut Album - 2009, Australia and UK release
'At Worlds End' - Single 2009
'Pretty Little Thing' - Single 2010
'As Night Falls' - Single (From feature film 'Blame) - 2010
'Dance Dance Dance - Single - 2012

Australian radio play - JJJ, RRR, Nova, TripleM, FBi, PBS, TripleZ, SynFM
Film Clips featured on RAGE

UK Radio play - Kerrang! radio (Including Alex Baker's single of the week) ; Northsound FM (Scotland); Wave Radio; 2XS Sheffield ; Total Rock Radio ; Manchester Radio ; BBC (Mike Howarth) ; Bath Student Radio ; Amazing Radio ('As Night Falls reached #2 on their unsigned chart)

UK TV:
MTV2, NME. (At Worlds End & As Night Falls)

Photos

Bio

Blackchords formed in Melbourne 2005 soon after a chance meeting between Nick Milwright (vocals/guitar) and Damian Cazaly (guitar). The two met at the house of a mutual friend and fellow Melbourne musician and over a few drinks, enthusiastic rambling and the odd chord strummed the two decided that they should probably continue playing music in the light of day. Milwright & Cazaly began writing and playing acoustic gigs around town within a few weeks of their meeting and not long after they invited new members to boost their ranks and thus Blackchords was born.

The band quickly made a name for themselves after their chilling but beautiful video for their 1st single ‘Broken Bones’ won ‘Best Music Video’ in the prestigious St Kilda Film Festival. ‘Broken Bones’ also became a dual finalist in the International Songwriting Competition for Best Rock Song & Best Film Clip.

The debut album was released in 2009, to widespread critical acclaim and rave reviews, “Melbourne quartet shoots for the stars on widescreen debut” – Rolling Stone, and was shortlisted for the 2010 AMP award.

With numerous national tours around Australia under their belt the band toured twice to the UK and France, with highlight showcase performances at The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City in 2010, including shows at the famous Aussie BBQ. CMU’s Guide to The Great Escape reviewed the band as, “innovative, fresh, young and vibrant, you must catch them!”

Due to the successful appearances over the UK summer the band enjoyed radio play, along with the music video for their 2nd single ‘At World End’ receiving airtime on MTV and NME TV in the UK.

As the European summer drew to a close, Blackchords returned to Australia, and accepted an invitation to open for Powderfinger and Jet at Melbourne’s iconic Sidney Myer Music Bowl for Powderfinger’s last Melbourne show. Still on high from the show the band commenced writing again and recorded the dark and majestic ‘As Night Falls’ for Australian indie film ‘Blame’, which was later released as a single to coincide with the release of the film.

Since the release of the debut album, their songs have been on Australian television shows including ‘Underbelly: Razor’, ‘Rescue Special Ops’, and ‘Cops L.A.C.’ in the US, Blackchords music appeared on ‘Teen Mom’ (MTV) and ‘Being Human’ (NBC).

Early in 2012 the band embarked on the recording of their second album in the picturesque surrounds of Victoria’s Yarra Valley, in an old barn that they converted into a temporary recording studio. With international producing maestro David Odlum at the helm (former guitarist with The Frames, producer- The Frames, Gemma Hayes, Luka Bloom, Josh Ritter, Tinariwen), Blackchords bunkered down with a more ambitious, diverse and energetic approach to the new songs. With the recording process Blackchords sound has evolved far beyond the their own expectations.

Dance Dance Dance is the first taste of the new album, showcasing a more upbeat and lighter side to the Blackchords sound. Dance is one of those songs that seemed to come out of nowhere. “We were so preoccupied in writing songs specific for the next Blackchords album and forgetting the reasoning for writing and playing music in the first place” recounts Nick Milwright. “I sat down one day with my guitar and decided that I would write a song purely for the enjoyment of playing music. To shut out all preconceptions of what should come out of it.... And somehow out of all our songs this was the one that has become the first release from the album”

In many respects the sophomore album will be a new direction for Blackchords. The writing and recording of it has been a very band orientated process and a very conscious