Watch out Chicago: Aussies are invading our city. In the past month, Chicago has been inundated with incredible Down Under acts including Midnight Juggernauts, Cut Copy and The Presets. Australia’s psyche-pop scene has been around for years, but for some reason the time is ripe for these bands to explode worldwide. Chums Kim Moyle and Julian Hamilton (who uncannily sounds like Paul Banks and Tom Smith from Editors) comprise Presets. The guys released the disco/dance debut, “Beams,” in 2005 and just followed it up with ‘Apocalypso,’ which exudes ethereal moments of gloom and doom and expansive dancey tracks such as the contagious single “This Boy’s In Love.” Influences range from Vangelis, Pet Shop Boys and Nirvana, but think Interpol-meets-The-Knife-meets-Culture Club.
“The set is like a DJ set in parts with the songs all mixed together,” Moyle says. “We have remixed some older songs so they have a new flavor and the energy is always sky-high. If you come to our show, you must be prepared to go crazy.” Describing its sound as “demented pop,” no wonder there’s chaos at shows. Increasing their popularity, Presets songs have been remixed by a pedigree of hot remix artists including Lifelike, Digitalism and Cut Copy. An entire remix album entitled “Resets” came out in 2006. “Apocalypso” takes the band’s signature sound to the next level.
“We just tried to make it sound more refined, more unified and generally better,” says Moyle. “That’s not to say the old album is no good, but we did try to push it a little bit. But, we never ever try too hard.” The record reached number one on the Australian charts, solidifying the duo’s newfound success. The classically trained Moyle and Hamilton are highly collaborative. “Neither of us have the last say in anything—we both have a high respect for each other, and we keep each other in check,” Hamilton remarks. “I’m happy to say I can definitely hear both of us really clearly in every song.”
The guys will be touring for the next couple of months, so new material probably won’t be on the horizon. “By the time we finished ‘Apocalypso,’ we both felt like we were only just hitting our strides as composers again,” Hamilton says. “It’s always that way though—just when it felt like we were getting back into the rhythm of writing, we finish the record and we’re back on the road again.” (Garin Pirnia)
The Presets play with Walter Meego, Comasoft and DJ Jordan Z at Abbey Pub, 3420 West Grace, (773)478-4408, on May 30 at 9pm. $15.