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Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | INDIE

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative


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



"…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead / Nikko / To The North (Live Review)"

Brisbane’s Nikko come before a still-thin crowd filling the space with their smoggy, atmospheric rock. Of particular note is Dark Eyes, opening with some Supertramp-esque harmonica, moving from slow, tribal drums to a massive climax. Though the five-piece includes an electronic violinist, I cannot see him. No matter, the dark, evocative set is well received and warms us up nicely for the main event. - Rave Magazine


THE ZOO: 01.09.11
The Rational Academy bring in the first day of spring in their inimitable style, interweaving understated lyricism with cinematic strokes that rise forth when the esotericism is overridden by sonic interludes. The half-hour set is warm yet stately, and just another question mark over why these guys aren’t bigger than they currently are.
sleepmakeswaves are launching their debut album And So We Destroyed Everything, and they do so in a suitably devastating fashion. The four-piece’s brand of instrumental rock is more in the Texan than the Glaswegian vein, the nuance and warmth is equally tempered by visceral rumbling explosions. Taking post-rock and bashing its ears with distorted fury, the Sydneysiders leave an indelible mark on the punters – and expectations for the upcoming acts skyrocketing.
Two instrumental bands back to back can be a hard ask for any discerning listener, yet Perth’s Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving blow any aspersions out of the water from their opening track. The foursome alter their atmospherics with a strong elements of piano, played by an energetic Aaron Pollard whose constant headbanging, his forehead mere millimetres from his own gear, infuses the entire set with an inescapable sense of urgent energy. Another loud set, it’s clear that these interstate travellers have no intention of taking it easy on the headlining act – and the crowd are eternally grateful.
That said, when Nikko take to the stage, it’s with a slight tremor of nerves, knowing that the bar has been set incredibly high. Yet all fears are laid to rest from the very first song, as the five-piece (joined by a violinist) play The Child with a fervent determination that mirrors religiosity, before kicking the rustic trance with a caterwaul of noise. Obviously taking their cues from the guests, Nikko amp up their sound, and rather than monstering their subtler moments, it augments them. New single About The Spirit is trotted out early, whereby lead is met by Butcher Bird/Tiny Migrant/Keep On Dancer Jacinta Walker, their vocals infusing the track with a backroom longing punctuated by some seriously heavy atmospherics. As Walker makes her way offstage, bassist Sam Whiting states that it’s the first time they’ve played the song with her (“I’ve never met her; still haven’t”). It’s clear any nerves have been dispensed with, and the rest of the show rolls along like the murmured thunder of an impending electric storm, a biblical end of times. Dark Eyes, played as a four-piece, is suitably disturbing. The set is beautifully caps off a loud, atmospheric night, with the full stop being a suitably calamitous outro that truly showcases Nikko’s “calm before the storm” musical mentality, auguring well for the band’s future.

"About The Spirit/Smoke Alarms (Single Review)"

It’s always cheering to check back in with a band and hear a bit of progression in their sound. This is still the epic Nikko you may or may not know and love, but with less Nick Cave and more Lou Reed in the DNA. It’s still cerebral rock eerieness, but less funereal about it. They’ve maintained their knack for tension and release, building up the droney bits layer by layer until they’ve put the last brick on their foreboding tower and the guitars can throw themselves off it, crashing down while the violin wails. So if suicidal musical instrument dirges are your idea of a good time, you are going to love this. - Rave Magazine

"About The Spirit/Smoke Alarms (Single Review)"

Local proponents of stripped down swamp rock, Nikko return after their most excellent longplayer debut, 'The Warm Side', with this double 7" release, 'About The Spirit' / 'Smoke Alarms'. 'About The Spirit' is deep, dark and menacing with more than a hint of brutality soaking through the lyrics, leaving you with the feeling you're about to be hit by the leather glove of a crazed Mississippian alligator. 'Smoke Alarms' does meander more, but to my ears there's something about the slow toll of doom - and Nikko infuse plenty of doom across these two tracks - that brings the music to life, if that's possible. - Scene Magazine

"About The Spirit/Smoke Alarms (Single of The Week)"

Locals Nikko do everything right with the release of their double A-side 7-inch, which comes complete with retro-trendy handscreen prints done with a Japanese Gocco printer. The organic warmth doesn't stop with the packaging though, the production of the tracks is similarly 'real'. When the distortion and noise kicks in over the lush acoustics of About The Spirit it's totally unexpected and extremely cool. It takes the track into the next level, and is such an amazing contrast with the lilting, fragile beginning of the track. It turns into a monster basically.Both songs are from the forthcoming second album by Nikko - hard to imagine you could come up with a better teaser than this sublime release. - Time Off

"Nikko, Screens, Big Dead (Live Review)"

It is a relaxed, largely appreciative crowd that welcome stars of the evening Nikko to the stage. The band have fleshed out to a six-piece this evening, incorporating two members on cello and violin, and the strings section add a nuanced hue to what is a carefully cultivated sound. The strength of Nikko is that every member is fully aware of their place within the song structure and never stray from it, each song very much a sum of its parts. Starting in hushed tones, it isn’t long until the thunderous instrumental side that the band is renowned for rears its head. Wedding Song is an early highlight, Ryan Potter’s harmonica interludes lending the moody soundscapes a rustic, bluesy tone. Bye Byes also offers punters with a taste of the new tracks they will highlight on their second album. Hovering between melancholic barroom balladry and thunderous post-rock, Nikko inhabit a niche in the Brisbane music scene all of their own, a Gothic Western sound that lays the atmospherics on thick and never lets the tension slip. Tracks from The Warm Side dominate tonight, with The Miner and Reflector leaving indelible marks. Yet it is the titular track from The Warm Side that is the centrepiece, a sprawling opus that showcases the aching beauty and affecting power the band wields. Ryan’s vocals are hushed throughout, yet here it adds to the mood, and when the inevitable explosion of sound comes it comes as a cathartic release, something akin to Sigur Ros’ Track 8 off ( ). Not that Nikko reaches those breathtaking heights, but the impression has been made. Nikko are a force to be reckoned with.
BRENDAN TELFORD - Time Off Magazine

"Nikko / Founds / Dreamtime (Live Review)"

While the crowd swells for Nikko, this is music more suited to absorbing while sitting in one of Woodland’s wonderfully dark booths. Throughout their set we hear forlorn post-rock, stumbly cabaret ballads and a punky petulance that has been part of Brisbane’s more underground, experimental rock scene ever since the early days of Turnpike – heck, since The Laughing Clowns, even. While the dance floor isn’t nearly as active, the audience is audibly appreciative of Nikko’s crankily graceful music and rightly so. From the evidence of this performance, the next record should be a corker.
MATT THROWER - Rave Magazine

"Nikko / Screens / Big Dead (Live Review)"

Having drawn the curtain over the screen, local balladeers Nikko take us to the last stop on our trip to the dark side. Resembling Seth Bullock from Deadwood, moustached frontman Ryan Potter croons moody lyrics in a deep baritone (Saint Nick’s shadow reappearing), while guitarist Jackson Briggs’ and bassist Sam Whiting’s beards would have guaranteed them spots in My Morning Jacket back in the day – but then it’s Brisbane winter.

Augmented by violin and cello, numbers like Dark Eyes (featuring a very Once Upon A Time In The West harmonica break) and the misleadingly-titled Wedding Song have the buoyancy of a funeral march – and are all the more enjoyable for it. The combo’s secret weapon, drummer Blair Westbrook works overtime, frenziedly whipping up the sad swirl of the concluding Never Danced. Sweet haunted dreams.

- Rave Magazine

"Live at The Tote (EP Review)"

Few Brisbanites need much convincing of the live chops of our favourite post-rockers. This live set recorded at The Tote in Melbourne may help the rest of you, if you can find it! There are only 200 copies after all. Best to check online ( The newer tracks up the front are more vocal heavy and might remind one a bit of the Drones: where singing in tune is less important than just how drunkenly menacing you can be. Like an inebriated phone call at 2 o'clock in the morning from a jilted and potentially dangerous ex-lover, it is nice to know Nikko are back in town again. - 4ZZZFM

"Live at The Tote (EP Review)"

Released only seven months after their debut, Nikko’s Live At The Tote EP aims to serve two main purposes – to show off two new songs and to remind us how good they are. I have to admit, I find the new material confusing. New songs You Are Loved and Never Danced feature their trademark eerie post-rock sound, but then also present lyrics more suited to a romantic comedy than a potential Hitchcock thriller. It’s a puzzling but nevertheless intriguing direction for the band. The second purpose, however, is certainly achieved. Live production issues aside, this EP captures the band’s dynamic contrasts and mood shifts remarkably well. From the distinct guitar notes of Reflector, to the maniacal drumming in The Warm Side, it showcases some of Nikko’s best moments and reminds us what a great live band they are. - Rave

"Live at The Tote (EP Review)"

"Brisbane post-rock purveyors Nikko said in a recent interview that the best way to listen to their music is inside your bedroom with the volume cranked to stupefying levels. It's such an apt instruction because it reveals the burgeoning layers of sounds the group employs. When they released The Warm Side earlier this year it made critics spurt out hyperbolic praise all across the country - this was the type of album that ground mountains into grains of sand; a depiction of a band truly on the road to something special. On a recent tour, the band set out to record an intimate and ethereal show at iconic Melbourne venue The Tote.

A brilliant live album is characterized by two points of interest: sound quality and the capturing of the moment. Nikko have managed to hit two holes in one. The sound is almost unspoiled, with only a few blemishes to remind listeners that this was a living, breathing experience. You can almost smell the fermenting beer, and feel the foundations of the room vibrating as the walls of distortion reverberate off them. The music broods and lingers patiently; then it erupts. Sparse fretwork and ambient passages are peppered with violin melodies that crescendo up into a state of violent delirium.

If this album has one Achilles heel moment it would be the crowd reaction - audience participation is almost non-existent. A performance like this should be welcomed with a 40,000 strong roar. Perhaps at the time they were too busy trying to pull themselves from their state of bewilderment. After listening to this album, you'll struggle to do the same. One of the most accomplished bands in the genre at the height of their power.

**** 1/2" - Scott Thompson, Time Off - Time Off


With a guest violinist swelling the usual quintet’s numbers, dark frontier rockers Nikko open proceedings tonight at The Zoo, a celebration of the release of 4ZzZ’s new compilation album Beyond The Banana Curtain. Starter Wedding Song builds from overlapping labyrinthine soundscapes to tumbling crescendos. Pulling things back a bit the band play slower brooding songs You Are Loved and The Miner with singer Ryan Potter channelling Leonard Cohen’s sparse vocal intensity. As violinist Adam plucks into Never Danced the song winds into keening shoegaze. Building from swelling feedback the band bring the insistent pressure of closer The Warm Side. - Time Off

"The Warm Side (Album Review)"

There is a risk that post rock as a genre will soon become irrelevant to modern music as the genre name is to the musical styles it encompasses. Long gone are the glory years when bands like Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky and Do Make Say Think were at the forefront of a progressive and challenging genre. This could well be because the bar has been set very high over the past decade and a number of newer bands have failed to recreate the instrumental emotion many of the aforementioned bands managed to produce on a number of occasions. Of course some these bands have a special place for me in my album rotation, but it is difficult not to eventually grow tired of every instrumental-based rock band building, bridging, mellowing and climaxing time and time again over 10 minutes. I’ve heard it all before and I think it’s time this style of music takes a different direction before its oversaturated, overdone and finally ruined for me.

That was a pretty brutal introduction considering the band I’m reviewing is essentially a post rock band, but I think it’s important for me to highlight my opinion on the genre, so I can express why I’m rather impressed by the debut album by Brisbane’s Nikko.

The Warm Side, just recently released, is certainly not a bad start to the decade: as a whole, it does a fine job of mixing heavy chord progressions with subtle ambience into a delicate, balanced production. Well orchestrated string and brass instruments are interwoven amongst screaming, distorted guitars and driving drums to create some very epic tracks; very similar to much of Explosions in the Sky’s work bar one aspect: they are Australian - very Australian. Of course Nikko are by no means making a completely new sound, but I will say that it feels as if they’ve taken a lot of the good aspects of Post Rock we’ve heard in the past few years and added classic Australianesque vocals, which is for me is ultimately very, very refreshing. Songs such as ‘The Minor’ and ‘Fists’ bring a depressive, gritty, classically insular Australian element that not only breaks up the album nicely, but makes the album more accessible to a wider audience. Tom Pyle - BATS - BATS Magazine

"The Warm Side (Album Review)"

“More rock, fuck post,” state Nikko on their MySpace page. Why, I’m not sure. I can think of several counterpoints to their refusal to position themselves as post-rock. One, they’re so firmly lodged within the genre - without hyperbole, they’re worthy of being listed alongside international greats like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky - that to describe them as anything else would be misleading. Two, there aren’t many national bands trying to stake a claim within these musical confines (aside from the recently decamped The Dead Sea and fellow Brisbane natives Castles Sunk Below The Sea). Third, since when is post-rock something to be ashamed of? Fourth and most importantly, they do it well.

The Warm Side is Nikko’s debut album, following their formation five years ago. Fittingly, these nine songs have been subject to a long gestation process: the recordings were completed in August 2009, whereafter the band shopped it to labels before finding a home with Sydney’s Tenzenmen (Scul Hazzards, Paint Your Golden Face).

There are no corners cut here, and not a moment wasted. The quintet’s ambitions are best realised on the title track, which builds toward a crescendo via Blair Westbrook’s thunderous tom rolls, Sam Whiting’s rapidfire bass and Adam Cadell’s fraught violin shivers. Ryan Potter’s deep voice intones upon half of the tracks here. In a delivery that’s more spoken than sung, he enunciates each syllable with infinite patience. His voice grounds the music. It's the only human presence amid layers of soaring instrumentation.

There’s a sinister beauty to ‘Wedding Song’, while album closer ‘Reflector’ revels in lyrical curiosities (“Beneath perfect surface, the sharks attack/Like your smile makes me nervous, like venus fly traps”), swarms of reverse tape-effected guitars and a sudden climax.

On The Warm Side, Nikko oscillate between the subtle and the bombastic, while proving themselves as prime candidates for Australia’s post-rock crown. Whether or not they’re willing to accept it is something else entirely.

by Andrew McMillen - Mess+Noise

"Wedding Song (Single of The Week)"

NIKKO – Wedding Song
When you start something called Wedding Song with a foreboding, old-school western twang, it’s pretty obvious that the titular nuptials aren’t going to work out long, happy and tragedy-free. So it is with the latest single by Nikko – one of the always-improving upcoming Brisbands of the last few years. That their debut album is heralded by such a dark epic of a single is an encouraging sign that after delving into a few different styles, they’ve decided where to focus their songwriting energies. And the job they’ve done with it is bang-up. For such a tragic song, there’s not much in the way of lyrics – a few four-line verses about how they were going to be married, looked at the stars, and then maybe that he didn’t live long enough to see it through … it’s difficult to be sure as some of the forlorn vocals disappear underneath the brooding, crashing waves of guitars, violin, organ and trumpet that swell high, like a menacing sky full of storm clouds – the angry sort that would show as red or maroon on BOM. So while the narrative’s not exactly storyboarded for us, it doesn’t really affect the mood, in the same way you don’t need to know all the backstory in a Western to know who you’re rooting for. Some stories are better told with nuance and atmosphere than details, and the six-minute building, layered, slightly psychotic turn of instrumentals here marks Nikko as a band to watch, like The Dirty Three’s first year apprentice.
- Rave

"Wedding Song (Single Review)"

'Wedding Song' is the first taste of Brisbane quintet Nikko's debut album The Warm Side, due soonish on Sydney label Tenzenmen. Despite the title, this is not the kind of song to which you might celebrate matrimony. Rather, it's a low-key plod through fractured guitar, haunted vocals and droning violin. While the song seems poised for an explosive, post rock-esque climax, it never happens, tumbling instead into a miasma of drunken despair.
A classic tale of love lost, 'Wedding Song' is a bitter paean to regret. It tells of silent suffering and torn loyalties, the bleak lyrical mood matched by the band's measured intensity. “We swore to love each other/And sang underneath the stars,” laments Ryan Potter, before revealing, “And now I am at your wedding/Your husband to be was my friend/He asked me to play while you danced and drank/You vowed to love until the end.” He leaves no room for ambiguity; there's a universality to the scene that defies all need for obtuse poetry or vacant symbolism. - Mess+Noise

"Nikko @ The Hanger (Live Review)"

Nikko are, outside of tonight’s headliners, perhaps the most fully-realised act of the evening and, fittingly, the band prove responsible for a significant percentage of tonight’s attendees. The multi-faceted quintet have been honing their textured sound for nearly five years at this point and their performance tonight is representative of a band at the absolute peak of their powers. The musicianship is wonderful and the songwriting both accomplished and adventurous – encompassing everything from post-metal gravitas to indie-rock melody. One desperately hopes the release of the band’s debut album will afford them the global recognition they so clearly deserve. - Time Off

"The Warm Side (Album Review)"

The Warm Side’
Writing the soundtrack to the ache of the modern world is no easy task. On the worn path, most bands you're likely to discover (especially in Brisbane) prefer to consort, and win you over by exploring the more positive side of the musical coin. This is what makes Nikko's debut album so good. Opening tracks ‘Wedding Song’ and ‘Fists’ show a level of self confidence in their post-murder-ballad-rock style that has been well worth the three years wait to be realised. Seeing these songs performed live should be at the top of your to-do list. - Scene Magazine

"The Warm Side (Album Review)"

Brisbane post-rockers debut
Written over three years, The Warm Side is the long-awaited release from local experimental rockers Nikko. For a debut album, it is pretty much as close to perfect as you can get. Their brilliance doesn’t take you over in one hit though, but rather seeps in slowly as the album progresses. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill release. The lyrics are sparse, if there are any at all, and there are epic, Godspeed You! Black Emperor- level instrumental jams in most of the songs. It’s amazing that, given all this, they still manage to sound introspective and unpretentious. The songs are moody yet melodic, with just the right peaks and lulls to take you on a musical journey without being excessive. Every instrument and every note has been thoughtfully considered and has a reason to be there. The first single, Wedding Song, has dark vocals reminiscent of Nick Cave on a quiet day, with plenty of soaring guitar moments. The use of violins in title track The Warm Side creates unbelievable tension, which is built up more with subtle time changes and intelligent drumming, only to achieve welcome release in an abrupt ending. Other highlights include off-beat guitar riffs and trickling piano notes in Young Liberal and the intense, swelling build-ups in The Miner. Overall, the whole album is filled with well-written songs that come together seamlessly. It might not be the most commercially-friendly venture, but who cares. Nikko have created work of art that is best enjoyed all at once, leaving the listener feeling like they’ve just had an unexpected revelation.
TIAN ZHANG - RAVE Magazine - Rave

"The Warm Side (Album Review)"

The Warm Side
Opening Nikko’s debut album The Warm Side with a song you’d flog to death when getting divorced, ‘Wedding Song’ is all a flurry of sweeping guitar and violin, poignant keys and low slung vocal style which sets the tone for the album at large in a manner that has been described most fittingly as ‘post-murder-ballad-rock’.
The title track is one which has been honed by a place in the live set since the bands’ inception as school friends five years ago. It builds gradually with the squeak of background violins giving the impression of an orchestra tuning up until vocals punctuate the soundscape and it finally moves into a pacey, tribal beat. If you’re not warming to the sounds of Nikko by this point, you probably won’t ever.
‘Young Liberal’ at the midway mark provides some hope and light to the dense fog of emotion that precedes it, following with album highlight ‘The Hitchhiker’ which is embellished with a sprinkling of abandoned keys to lend an element of mystery to the tale of loneliness.
It’s not all gloom (though mostly, it is) as demonstrated by ‘Fists’ which pounds you with a soaring guitar riff reminiscent of the lovely layered vocal heights of Mew at a time when you least expect it. Elsewhere in comparison land, Nikko won’t be escaping The Dirty Three references any time soon considering their calculated creation of space, atmosphere, light and shade, and Nick Cave allusions when frontman Ryan Potter chooses to lend his vocals to the largely instrumental album.
Nikko make music to reflect quietly and individually upon in a dark corner with a glass of single malt scotch to keep your thoughts company. The Warm Side is a mature and ambitious debut album from a young Brisbane quintet that, like scotch, takes a little time to soak in and will only keep improving with age.
***½ Tyler McLoughlan - Time Off

"The Warm Side (Album Review)"

Brisbane-based band Nikko are set to release their debut album The Warm Side. The band was founded by singer/writer/guitarist Ryan Potter, whose deep and brooding vocal stylings are reminiscent of Nick Cave, and some of the band’s anarchic breakdowns certainly have Birthday Party overtones. There is no doubt that the band have heard their fair share of Radiohead, and there’s also a strong Velvet Underground vibe to this release (Nikko’s name may be a reference to the Velvet Underground’s vocal collaborator, Nico). It’s the combination of these musical influences and the incorporation of organ and trumpet sounds that makes for a very melodic and complex album. The arrangements are beautiful and indeed on ‘‘the warm side’’, with lush strings that add a real depth to this compilation of melancholy, guitar-driven tunes. This is certainly a record for dimly lit rooms, and should not be relegated to background music or the occasional appearance on your Ipod’s shuffle setting. Take the time and listen to this album cover to cover. - The Canberra Times (July 8, 2010)


About the Spirit/Smoke Alarms (July, 2011)
- Double A-side single independently released on 7" vinyl.
Available in hardcopy and digital-versions @

Live at The Tote EP (2010)
- Independently released.
Available in hardcopy and digital-versions @

The Warm Side (debut album) (2010)
- Released on Tenzenmen, distributed by FUSE.
Available in hardcopy and digital-versions @, or in hard-copy in stores around Australia.

Fists EP (2008)
- Self Released
Available on iTunes



Currently based in Brisbane, Nikko was founded in 2005 by Ryan Potter (vocals, guitar and lyrics), Jackson Briggs (guitar), Sam Whiting (bass) and Blair Westbrook (drums).

Nikko's debut album, The Warm Side (2010, Tenzenmen/FUSE) is a collection of nine songs written between 2007 and 2009. The Warm Side has received much critical acclaim since its 2010 release, with Brisbane's RAVE Magazine giving the album 4 and 1/2 stars, saying that "For a debut album, it is pretty much as close to perfect as you can get." The Warm Side also received highly positive reviews in Time Off, Scene, Mess+Noise and The Canberra Times, and single 'Wedding Song' was named RAVE’s Single of the Week.

Following the largely underground success of The Warm Side and subsequent Australian tours, the band released a live recording entitled Live at The Tote in December of last year. The release received 4 and 1/2 stars in Time Off Magazine with reviewer Scott Thompson describing it as demonstrating “One of the most accomplished bands in the genre at the height of their power.”

Nikko’s latest release, a double A-side single entitled About the Spirit/Smoke Alarms, features two new tracks taken from the band’s upcoming sophomore album, due for release sometime in the new year. These two tracks demonstrate a stylistic change in direction that showcases frontman Ryan Potter’s skills as a songwriter and lyricist, along with the band’s collective ability to craft these skills into distinctive and compelling arrangements. The double A-side single received Single of the Week in Time Off upon its release, and is currently available for pre-order as a limited edition 7” vinyl from

Having just returned from a lightning tour of the east coast followed by a slot supporting ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at The Hi-Fi, Nikko will play a handful of hometown shows before embarking on a national tour that will encompass dates in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, concluding with a December residency at the Old Bar that will mark the band’s relocation to Melbourne.

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