Shining Bird
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Shining Bird

Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | MAJOR

Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2010
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"Mess & Noise : Track by Track"

‘Terra Nullius’

This one was written in [singer-guitarist] Dane [Taylor]’s stinking hot cube of a spare room. I think the first half of the song might be set in far north Queensland somewhere. It was built upon some chords and melodic ideas that [guitarist] Al [Webster] had at the time. I initially had some grand ideas about the speaker in the song being “the land” but somewhere along the line it morphed into something else entirely. I was watching a lot of Bush Tucker Man at the time.

The second half is intended to sound like an Australian version of NEU!. It was probably inspired by meditation, Ken Done and Dreamtime stories. Dane does an excellent job of channelling Robert Fripp on guitar.


‘Distant Dreaming’

‘Distant Dreaming’ was conceived at my house after hitting a dead end with another song I had been toiling with for weeks. I was just mucking around playing some keys over a ’90s-sounding hip-hop beat and Dane started casually playing guitar over the top. We freestyled a bunch of vocal ideas and ended up with the “Caught in a distant dreamtime” refrain. It basically wrote itself from then on. I collaborated with our good friend and brilliant writer Jonathan Parks for the lyrics, who helped with words for at least half the album.


‘Must Have Been Dreaming’

Dane and I have always wanted to write a song like ‘Woman in Chains’ by Tears For Fears. We also have a deep love for John Hughes films, which seem to be a great way to experience teen angst and the blissful ignorance of youth again whilst quietly weeping to oneself. This song was also inspired by meditation, [Icehouse’s] ‘Great Southern Land’ and Australian opals. Johnny helped out with lyrics for this tune as well. Thanks mate!

The arpeggio guitar lines at the end came from Dane experimenting with one of his many guitar pedals. They take the track deep underwater somehow. Actually, the whole back half sounds like the movie Drive, but underwater.


‘Keep Warm’

This is actually ‘Keep Warm 2.0’. The original version transformed into a totally different beast after we started playing it live. What was once a programmed sample is now the bouncy groove of [Nathan Stratton’s] live bass. Alastair and I spent an eternity working on the vocal breakdown to get it right.

The original version was loosely based on the story of Jamie Neale, who spent 11 days lost in the Blue Mountains in freezing conditions. We were staying there at the time he was found and there were rumours that the whole thing was a hoax. It’s also based on something I read about how Brian Wilson tried to create music that makes the listener feel loved. That’s what ‘Keep Warm’ is supposed to do.


‘Don’t Get Down on Yourself’

I remember Alastair and I went and stayed in Narrandera with Johnny for a while and we worked on the lyrics for this particular tune. We also had fires on the Murrumbidgee, set yabby traps and wandered around in fields that stretched from horizon to horizon. This song reminds me of the film The Year My Voice Broke. Great movie.

I think this tune contains one of my favourite vocal performances from Dane. He manages to sound numb, heartbroken and desperate all at once.


‘You Won’t Feel a Thing’

We started this one at a farm we rented out in Berry for a while. It was an amazing property on 25 acres of land with wombats everywhere. The song itself didn’t really take shape until later on, when I removed the beat and changed the chords.

For a while I was hearing and reading a lot about the “inevitability” of moving to another planet when earth eventually becomes uninhabitable. The idea of saying goodbye to this country and planet forever is profoundly sad. For me, this song is about that feeling. And also about ghosts and anti-depressants.


‘Stare into the Sun’

This song was also written in Dane’s spare room/sauna. We got this really cool sound running Dane’s acoustic through a chorus pedal he bought at Aldi. I remember Dane, Alastair and I just kept layering parts until all of a sudden I was inadvertently mumbling a chorus.

I feel like this track takes the mild euphoria on some of the other songs to a whole new level. I just wanted it to keep going up and up and up and up. It has an intense optimism that could almost be described as manic. I wanted everything in the song to sound bleached, sunburned or melted by an Australian sun.


‘The Last Wave’

This tune was written and produced by Alastair and was originally sitting in the Tropical Strength ideas pile. At some point we realised it was a Shining Bird song and we got Dane to lay down some of his chocolate vox for the verses. I think this was the hardest song on the album to finish. It was like a series of locked doors that we tried a million different keys in before we entered each new phase. Sometimes we had to pick the lock.

This tune contains a sample from Peter Weir’s film The Last Wave. We were lucky enough to contact Peter via Strat’s granddad (David Stratton) and get permission from the man himself. Which was awesome! We are all big fans of Peter Weir. - Mess & Noise


"Live Review"

Seekae’s Alex Cameron is too charismatic to ignore, even when on his own. In solo guise with vocals and effects, joined by a saxophonist and drummer, Cameron grooved his way through a neat and ‘singer-songwriter’ styled set. Supported by the weight of his rather excellent She’s Mine electro-pop single, Cameron’s solo style is much more Jack Ladder-cum-Nick Cave-esque than might be expected, considering his band efforts. With a sexy dripping baritone he certainly had no problems charming the crowd who filled out the Danceteria before his set was half over.

Northern Illawarra’s finest export since sunshine and beaches, Shining Bird have only moved from strength to strength since kicking into life last year. The group’s shimmering experimental pop, showcased on brilliant debut album Leisure Coast, is as hypnotic as it is genuine. Fortunately, the band’s shows never fail to deliver this sound as living ideas. The interplay of these six gents is so natural and effortless it would be easy to hate them were the music not so gorgeous. Dane Taylor’s baritone holds together the multi-layered sounds like a pro, and gives the whole affair a gravitas hardly any year-old bands can lay claim to. Guitarists with effects boards as impressive and complicated as those littered on the floor around Shining Bird will warrant shoegazing/dream pop references, and these styles are present in the group’s music (particularly live), but these stylistic touchstones never dominate the sonic ideas or get in the way of a delightful hook. Describing bands as ‘gorgeous’ or ‘pretty’ is cliché to the point of frustration, but there really is no way around it when talking about Shining Bird. Whether they focus more on abstract soundscapes or the folksy hopeful existentialism of stand-out tune Keep Warm, there’s no way to avoid the fact that Shining Bird are one of the best up-and-coming band’s in the state. Do yourself a favour and catch them live as soon as possible.

Written by Andrew McDonald - The Music


"'Distant Dreaming' film clip"

South Coast New South Wales experimental pop band Shining Bird have racked up almost 70,000 Youtube views within a week with the release of their brand-new, tripping balls video for their single 'Distant Dreaming.'

The 80s-style, psychedelic, Australiana clip was published on the German alternative music Youtube Channel, Majestic Casual, on June 7 and in just five days has already become one of the most watched indie music clips online.

The clip seems to have struck a particularly popular chord with fans of "mind-altering substances," with Youtube user Wojtek Bieganski scoring mad props for his comment, "these guys were higher than willie nelson when filming this video."

Shining Bird are of course the legends/lunatics that we gave a shout out to last year after they created a clip in which they superimposed themselves into the Jimmy Fallon show.

The video's success also marks another bonus in a solid run of high scores for the band, after they recently signed with respected local indie label, Spunk, who are set to release both a new single and a new, full record from the band later this year.

Watch the clip for 'Distant Dreaming' below.

You can also buy a digital copy of the single from the band's Bandcamp page - shiningbird.bandcamp.com - Channel V


"ABC Radio National Album Of The Week"

Hailing from Austinmer on the South Coast of NSW, Shining Bird are a collective of musicians, draftsman, scholars and bodyboarders who got together over their love of the sea, Australian cinema, Dennis Wilson’s ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ LP and the great Australian poet Henry Lawson. Their debut LP Leisure Coast is a languid, inviting journey through the many experiences of the coastline. It's filled with sunny synth-pop motifs and flavours but still harnesses a subtle, subterranean unease. - ABC


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Hailing from Austinmer, a coastal town just south of Sydney in Australia, Shining Bird are a collective of musicians who got together over their love of the sea, Australian cinema, Dennis Wilson’s ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ LP and the great Australian poet Henry Lawson.

Formed as a studio project by Dane Taylor (vocals/guitars) and Russell Webster (keys/electronics) the duo begun recording their debut tracks in 2011. The resulting work, a six track EP titled ‘Shade of the Sea’ was released independently in 2012. This release led to the band being named FBi Radio’s unsigned artist of the week and received plenty of praise across the blogosphere.

Quickly following the release, the band enlisted Russell’s younger brother Alastair Webster (guitar) to begin work on writing & recording their debut album. They also added Nathan Stratton (bass), Riccardo Quirke (drums) and James Kates (percussion) to help develop Shining Bird into a live band.

While recording what would become their debut full length album, the band played their first live show at a friend’s bar on Christmas eve of 2012 and launched themselves on to the live music scene in Australia during 2013. Throughout the year they supported a range of bands including Franz Ferdinand, The Drones, PVT and Unknown Mortal Orchestra as well as playing festival spots at Melbourne Music Week, Newtown Festival, At First Sight and The Farmer & The Owl. The bands live shows have earned them a finalist nomination for ‘Best Live Act’ in the Sydney Music, Art & Culture Awards.

Shining Bird released the single ‘Distant Dreaming’ in early 2013, receiving rotation on stations like Triple J and FBi. The strength of the band’s live performances and positive response to the single led to them inking a deal with Spunk Records for the release of their debut album. The label launched the signing of the band with a clip to the single that has already been watched more than 200,000 times on Youtube and was named Rage TV’s ‘Indie clip of the Week’.

On September 6th 2013 the band released their debut album ‘Leisure Coast’ in Australia and backed it with their first headline tour taking in shows across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. On the back of strong reviews from publications such as Rolling Stone, Russh and the Sydney Morning Herald as well as earning Album Of The Week on ABC’s Radio National, the release helped propel Shining Bird towards a new bunch of listeners.

Sydney’s FBi Radio named the track ‘Distant Dreaming’ their third most played track of 2013, while the second single from the album ‘Stare Into The Sun’ was fifty fourth on their list of 100 most played tracks of the year. Channel V named ‘Distant Dreaming’ in their top 50 tracks for the year and Triple J Unearthed had the song in their Top 50 most played tracks of 2013. The album made its way into numerous end of year favourite lists and also placed at sixteen on the Mess & Noise readers poll for favourite album.

Shining Bird show no signs of slowing down in 2014, kicking off the year with a show at the Opera Bar in Sydney’s iconic Opera House before playing Sydney Festival alongside Kurt Vile and the sold out Secret Garden Festival. The band are touring nationally in July with New Zealand artist Tiny Ruins and will venture outside Australia for the first time in October.


Band Members