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Bendigo, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Bendigo, Australia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Post-grunge


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rolling Stone"

Darts are an exciting proposition for a city that's been bogged down in jangle for half a decade. In many ways this co-ed five-piece are a throwback to the mid-2000s when bands like Children Collide and Love of Diagrams were forcing local critics to use the word "urgent" again. On their debut LP, Darts show a ton of promise – even though Angus Ayres' voice and cryptic songs recall early Pixies and Modest Mouse a bit too reverentially. "Aeroplane" – featuring lead vocals from Ally Campbell-Smith and New Wave synths – provides a nice counterpoint to Ayres' Isaac Brock-isms, while the "everything's boring" lament of "Geek" is summoned from a dark and genuine place. - See more at: http://rollingstoneaus.com/reviews/post/darts-below-empty-and-westward-bound/1765#sthash.O3Ipa21E.dpuf - Darren Levin

"Aphra Mag"

It’s one thing to release a striking, undeniably rollicking debut album, and another to back it up with a live performance that doesn’t miss a beat. Darts are the real deal, and this is why; the moments on Below Empty & Westward Bound where you find yourself held at ransom by noise-ridden guitars, swayed by the vocal contrast of Angus Ayres and Ally Campbell­-Smith, or rattled by the hammering rhythm section, well, it’s all there in a live setting, but with an additional exclamation mark. Everything is propelled by an invigorating intensity and contagious confidence.

Opening with ‘Commanche’, the rhythm section can be felt through the floor as it vibrates and surges with the beat. Drummer Andrew Ayres plays like he’s trying to smash holes into his kit, while keyboardist Paige X. Cho hammers a floor tom with one pronounced thud after another. The song has a driving, post-punk sound and immediately commands the crowd’s attention.

Following the abrasive, fast-paced ‘Geek’ is ‘Push me Thru’, fuelled by an intensifying light and shade arrangement. I also notice some buzzing, fuzzed out bass from Jessie Fernandez, only compounding the impact of the song’s final sequence.

It’s a big crowd at the Shadow Electric, stretching to the far back of the room, filling it with a warming buzz and sense of excitement. When second single, ‘Aeroplane’, comes on, the hazy guitars wash over mesmerised onlookers. At this stage I hear the guy behind me loudly proclaim, ‘I saw them about a year ago. These guys have matured so much in a year’. To be honest I didn’t even know who Darts were a year ago, but seeing them live says volumes about where they are as a band; ready to launch into the second half of 2015, to command bigger local audiences and carve out a name for themselves in Melbourne, and beyond.

‘Here Is Down’ and ‘Below Empty’ are both up tempo numbers that have the crowd bopping heads. Then there is first single, ‘Westward Bound’, and as promised on the event page, the brass section enters the stage, a trumpet and trombone that both feature on band’s record. They stick around for ‘Pony Up’ as well, and both songs project a huge ‘big band’ sound and it feels like each member is playing out of their skin. It’s all very epic, but never overdone, and so it’s not difficult to envisage Darts holding their own in bigger venues with their musical scope and live energy.

Darts’ debut album plays as if designed for live performance, each song transitioning to the next with deteriorating strokes of noise or subtler, tempering guitar lines. The full force of this live aesthetic is felt with a rendition of newest single, ‘Dead’, the topsy-turvy ‘Solitary Refinement’ and finally ‘Traveling Aardvark Cashmere’.

The band then steps off the stage before returning for an encore with the final song of the album, ‘My Darling Bendigo’. It’s an epic ending drenched in melancholy and grounded by a pulsating tension. In dramatic fashion, it acts as a final release and gains a welcomed applause from a more than satisfied crowd. After rising and falling, turning and swivelling with every thudding beat (and I mean thudding), every dissonant guitar chord, and every emotively charged vocal exhale on this riveting musical roller coaster ride, it’s a perfect closer. Darts are a band destined for bigger and better things. - Chris Scott

"Rolling Stone - Escaping the Darkness"

Angus Ayres sounds shy. "I'm fairly aggressive", he meekly states. He's discussing his guitar style in comparison to Darts' other primary vocal/guitar source, Ally Campbell-Smith, yet it's a characteristic that could also be attributed to his vocal style, akin to that of an off-the-grid ruffian, lost amidst hibernation madness. A far cry from the polite young man that greets me down the phone line.

"I think the only reason I sing like that is when we started playing we had no P.A. system", Ayres explains, "so I'd have to shout at the top of my lungs so I could be heard over the guitar and drums".

Darts formed around 2008, initially just as a two-piece — Angus and his brother Andrew — in the Victorian city of Bendigo. The band was born not from the urge of creative expression synonymous with such geographical displacement, but more as a method of salvation.

"I was going through a rough period around eighteen", Ayres bluntly states. "[Andrew] saved up some money and bought himself a drum kit and sort of asked me to teach him how to play to force me into doing something." From there the band - which Ayres stresses was very much "just a bit of fun" - "fell into doing shows around Bendigo and then, eventually, Melbourne".

Also playing at these Melbourne venues around the same time was Ally Campbell-Smith, who was eventually recruited into the band, bringing a "more thought-out" style to the duo's raw, erratic nature. Eventually, they'd add two more members - first Paige X and later Jessie Fernandez - to solidify their current five-piece arrangement.

"We were only a two-piece because we didn't know anyone to be in a band [with]", he explains of the band's initial skeleton formation. "I'm only the singer, because we couldn't find a singer."

Yet, Ayres' distinct vocals has become one of the band's centrical features, as well as also sparking some inevitable comparisons. "Someone actually came up to me after a show and said I sound like this guy called Frank Black, and I had to look it up. So I guess I was a little late to the party on that band." While that band, the Pixies, as well as references to Sonic Youth and early Modest Mouse - most notably the distant shouting style of frontman Isaac Brooks - has dominated the press surrounding the band, it's something they're not too concerned about.

"We don't take it negatively and they're all bands that we do like", Ayres says when pressed about the issue, before clarifying that Darts "don't collectively listen to the same music".

It's a creative in-cohesion that's clearly evident on the band's new record Below Empty & Westward Bound. It's an album of chaotic embracement, primarily formed from a patchwork of contrasting elements, not only the distinctly different duelling vocals, but also the frequent sharp shifts in tempo, light and, most notably, scale — crudely flipping from theatrical outbursts to bare-boned fragility without hesitation. Yet, the album is unified by it's clearly defined set of subjects.

"We didn't really design it to be that way, we just sorta found all the songs generally seemed to follow that theme". For Ayres' own lyrical contributions, his focus is primarily drawn from personal experience. "I've dealt with depression — and so have others in the band — so, I guess [the album's] about that feeling of isolation and transition [into adulthood]. We're all at that mid-20s age where everyone's expecting you to get your shit together and the pressure that goes with that."

- See more at: http://rollingstoneaus.com/music/post/darts-escaping-the-darkness/1632-page-1#sthash.JWv0zNdF.dpuf - Jonny Nail

"Indie Shuffle"

Two guys, three girls, and a seriously fresh sound: I'm so happy to introduce you to Melbourne's Darts. They've just signed to brilliant Aussie label Rice is Nice and they're celebrating with their brand new single, "Westward Bound."

Aggressive beats and punchy yet melodic guitars set the tone -- it's fast and fun, raunchy and loud. If you're a fan of Modest Mouse, you're gonna love these vocals. And if you're into old-school-indie-with-a-kick-up-the-ass, then you'll love these rhythms. They've taken angst, sadness, and frustration, and spat it out in the best possible way. It's a breath of crisp, pure, non-ironic air, and I love it. - Lauren Ziegler


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Darts are Ally Campbell-Smith, Paige X. Cho, Jessie Fernandez and brothers Angus and Andrew Ayres.

The Melbourne five-piece have a melancholic, aggressive sound that feature loud-quiet dynamics that exhibit their unique tapestry of influences. One listen will induce flashbacks to early Modest Mouse, Pixies, The Breeders and Dinosaur Jr, all wrapped up in one frenetic punch that's impossible to listen to without being totally absorbed.  

Below Empty & Westward Bound was mastered by Joe Laporta, whose pedigree of working the boards for the likes of Yuck, Wavves and Arcade Fire, leaves clear and distinct fingerprints across the albums textures and sensitivities. Recorded in a Melbourne bedroom, the album documents the bands experiences of mental illness, isolation in a new city and transition into adulthood, paralleled with anxious optimism.

Since the album’s release - Below Empty & Westward Bound has received numerous radio airplay across triple J and Australia’s best community radio stations - As well as immense online coverage and positive album reviews.  

Band Members