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Judge for The Smoke

Hawthorn East, Australia
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Portrait of The Smoke
The Smoke is a five piece from Melbourne whose fiery punk take on beat music and psychedelia reeks of a band with serious aspirations.

Members of The Smoke are linked by blood, years-old friendship and a thirst for music. Their debut album, Blood Orange, was recorded and produced by the band in their living room, in late-night sessions as the band members struggled to hold down full-time jobs.

Mixing and mastering was completed at a friend’s studio in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges in February 2009, where the recording was briefly endangered by bushfires in the nearby National Park.

The songs on Blood Orange range in style, but are unified in their raw sound and reckless attitude.

The band’s palpable belief in the music was vindicated with the warm reception of the album’s two preceding singles. The stomping Defeat Retreat was named Single Of The Week in Rave and Beat magazines, while 3D World called it "a pop gem with enough oomph to propel itself into the musical stratosphere."

Next came the retro shimmy of “Sweet Spanish,” Single Of The Week in Inpress and iTunes Australia. Both songs received strong airplay from alternative stations around the country.

The album’s raw atmosphere reflects the unconventional surroundings and unique recording techniques. Early on, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Mullens theorised that combining clinical, perfect individual tracks made for songs that sound like hospitals. The band set about intentionally recording ugly sounds: rewiring an old telephone into a microphone for lo-fi backing vocals, recording though an amp housed in cigarette packet and recording acoustic guitar in the bathroom, the microphone in the shower.