Foundations: Telenova

Exploring the Melbourne band's formative albums...

Telenova are nothing if not direct.

The Melbourne three-piece thrive on communication, with their visceral songwriting immersed in a real-world sense of pain. Blazing a trail at The Great Escape with some special performances, the Australian outfit will follow this with an outstanding new EP.

‘Stained Glass Love’ is an impassioned five-tracker, sculpted during the intense lockdowns Melbourne endured. Pushing the three-piece further inside themselves, singer Angeline Armstrong’s lyrics speak from the heart.

“The writing of this EP was a pretty visceral experience,” she says. “The majority of these songs were written in the heart of Melbourne’s long lockdowns and I think we all understand that feeling of being hyper introspective at that time.”

The EP is out on August 19th, but ahead of this Telenova have sat down with Clash to discuss their formative albums for Foundations.

The Mars Volta – De-Loused In The Comatorium

Foundations: Telenova

When I was 15 I’d heard that John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers doubled the guitar solos for this band called The Mars Volta, and, being a disgustingly rabid RHCP fan, I thought I’d check them out. I remember putting on headphones and digging in – HARD.

Listening to the album from start to finish – not knowing where songs began and where they ended. It was such a stark contrast to the three/four minute pop songs that I was into before that. There was so much energy and dissonance and chaos that I instantly became a fan. I’m not sure if it helped my song writing or guitar playing at all – in fact, I probably went backwards in that regard.

But this album led me down a heavy prog rabbit hole that I’m glad I went down. Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, King Crimson; all that freaky shit. I still have a soft spot for unnecessarily difficult time signatures / modes to this day. – Edward Quinn

Jamiroquai – Automaton

Foundations: Telenova

Certainly not Jay Kay’s finest work by any means, but there’s something about this album I absolutely love. Constantly comparing his romantic interests to generic one-liners about various planets in solar systems is just really funny to me. It’s like he didn’t listen to anything but his own music for 15 years, and then decided to release something with the exact same blueprint as ‘A Funk Odyssey’.

But aside from all of these out-of-date tropes, I actually really enjoy this album. The production and musicality is, of course,  flawless, but there’s something about how tonedeaf Jay Kay is that really appeals to me. Or maybe he’s trolling us all. Either way, 10/10. – Edward Quinn

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Foundations: Telenova

For the majority of my teenage years I was incredibly insecure and shy. I performed in musicals and school plays but only because I could wear a mask. There was a bit of a turnaround when I was 16 (got my dental braces off and was basically a new woman, woo) and had started to embrace the kind of things that made me, me. Including my ethnicity as an Asian Australian woman.

‘It’s Blitz!’ came out around that time and I just fell in love with Karen O and her whole energy on that album in all her Asian American power. There’s this sensitivity and vulnerability in her vocals and lyrics that resonated with the reserved, self-conscious teenager I’d been. But then there’s these extended moments of wild unbridled punk spirit on the album that were just so beautifully cathartic for me and the ‘identity’ journey I guess I was on.

The blending of accessible electronic dance music and orchestral melodrama and punk energy in one album – what’s not to love. The artwork is also an all-time favourite (Urs Fischer’s photograph of a delicate hand with chipped rouge nail polish crushing a raw egg in mid air). Hang that up in an art gallery. It would make sense. I aspire to that in our own artwork choices. – Angeline Armstrong

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

Foundations: Telenova

I love being constantly, delightfully surprised by what sonic candy is going to enter my ears (mouth? My metaphor is confused now. Nevermind. Candy it is.) at any given moment. I mean I feel this way about every Vampire Weekend album. There’s such a delicious flavour to all the production choices and percussive elements and synth sounds and sampled bits and Ezra’s voice and organic instruments like double bass and harpsichord that shower every song like edible rainbow confetti. I’m never bored.

Literature was my favourite subject at school – I love Ezra’s use of language in his lyrics. It’s very evocative and very playful. And then suddenly very serious with lines like “We know the fire awaits unbelievers / All of the sinners the same / Girl, you and I will die unbelievers / Bound to the tracks of the train”. I guess serious in a satirical but earnest kind of way.

Being a Christian myself, the way Ezra’s Jewish background and pointed questioning of God and morality and existence weaves into his lyrics – particularly on this album – is a fascinating conversation to overhear for me. I know lots of people out there don’t listen to lyrics, but I like getting my brain involved when I listen to music. I like Ezra’s brain. Even if sometimes some of the lyrics on this album feel like they’re just there because they sound interesting scrambled in that way… in that sentence… in that melody. I’m like, great. That’s art in itself too. Bravo. – Angeline Armstrong

Air – Talkie Walkie

Foundations: Telenova

Air are one of my favourite bands of all time, I love them because they don’t let anything get in the way of the composition. If it needs a banjo they put it in, if there is no need for vocals they leave them out, the song ‘Alpha Beta Gaga’ on this record has a group whistle as the main hook for fuck’s sake! None of it it is done in a klitchy way either, it’s serious but not too serious that it becomes try-hard, the French just know how to do it.

I’ve listened to this record a million times and I’m sure I’ll listen a million more. I’ve pilfered a whole bunch of production ideas and aesthetics off these guys over the years, I definitely owe them a few nice bottles of wine to say thanks. – Joshua Moriarty

Limp Bizkit – Significant Other

Foundations: Telenova

I’m still a massive fan of the Bizkit, I don’t think I’ve heard riffs sound this huge recorded since. Did they use a million guitar tracks or is it just one…? The drums have that perfect tail end of the 90s sheen, way too many mics on the kit but it works.

The second half of the album is also trash, it’s one of those albums that starts so strong that by the time it’s halfway through you just turn it off when one of the shit songs come on.

I don’t think this album has any influence on me musically whatsoever anymore but damn, when the Nookie comes on with the head nod I can’t resist \m/ – Joshua Moriarty

‘Stained Glass Love’ EP is out on August 19th.

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