With more gigs cancelled than played, Blanco Tranco drop ‘I’ve Been Dying to Tell You’

With more gigs cancelled than played, Blanco Tranco drop ‘I’ve Been Dying to Tell You’

Blanco Tranco

Blanco Tranco's Melbourne rhythm punk is uplifted by the vulnerable female vocals of Tiff Brown. Everything they've achieved so far has come the hard way, but it's paying off on their new EP.

Blanco Tranco are a punk rhythm section interwoven with jangly guitars and sultry vocals. The music they make is self described as ‘loud but sensitive, modern but nostalgic, atmospheric but intimate.’

The four-piece – Mark Howell (bass guitar), Sophie Boyden (drums), Matt McTiernan (guitar) and Tiff Brown (vocals/keys) – combine melancholic surf with elements of post punk and shoegaze, and began writing songs and playing shows as a four-piece in early 2020. Not a great time, in hindsight, to start a brand new band.

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They persevered through constant uncertainty and continued writing throughout 2020, jumping into the studio the moment they could. The result is I’ve Been Dying to Tell You, five tracks of nostalgia evoking guitar pop songs with defiant but vulnerable female vocals.

“We think the coming-of-age movie soundtrack vibe is a good description,” the band say. “We have had a few people say things like ‘This song sounds like it’s from the opening credits of a late 80s / early 90s teen drama.’  We think it’s because our music is quite nostalgic and cinematic – there is a lot of atmosphere and emotion in there.”

“It has been pretty tough for us as you can imagine,” guitarist Matt continues. “We managed to get a few gigs under the belt and then, just as things were really picking up, lockdown 2020 kicked in.  I think we have had about three times as many gigs cancelled as the number of gigs that we have ever played together.”

Bassist Mark adds: “We had been planning on recording for a while but as soon as lockdown 2020 ended, our guitarist Matt had to travel to the UK because of a family emergency and was away for the entire summer. He had several flights back to Melbourne cancelled so he was basically stranded for a while.

“We had him text us as soon as he had boarded his plane before we were confident booking in with the studio. He was barely out of hotel quarantine before our session kicked off. He killed it. But then it wasn’t long afterwards that Melbourne went back into lockdown, so it’s a miracle it ever even got recorded.

“Despite the challenges, we have a lot to show for the past couple of years even if we haven’t played that many shows.  The lockdown has allowed us more time to write new material – most of the songs on the EP have been written during this time. We also appreciate that plenty of other people in the music scene have had it far worse.”

It’s an interesting origin story: Matt, Mark and Sophie began playing together after finding each other through Gumtree in 2019, with Tiff completing the lineup shortly after through Soundcloud.

“When I moved to Melbourne a few years ago, I posted an advert on Gumtree looking to find other musos to form a band,” Matt explains.

“Sophie (drums) and Mark (bass) separately answered the advert.  We had similar taste in music and clicked well with each other.  We also discovered that we had all previously lived in Canberra around the same time but had never met before.  Sophie and Mark are great musicians and form a tight rhythm section – the foundation of the band.

“We did a couple of gigs as a three-piece instrumental band in 2019, but the music was definitely missing something.  We put an advert out and did a few auditions for a vocalist, but it never quite worked out.

“One day, I stumbled across Tiff’s music on Soundcloud and was absolutely blown away by it.  I loved the songs that she had written and thought that her voice was really beautiful – a very unique timbre; vulnerable but warm.  We thought that she would be an awesome fit for the music that we were making, so we sent her some demos and asked whether she was interested in playing with us.  To our surprise, she was just as much of a fan of our music as we were of hers.  We asked her to a rehearsal and when she arrived she had already written the vocal parts for the demos we had sent her, including what would be our second single ‘Homecoming’.

“There is a live recording on our Soundcloud page of us playing this song that day and it still amazes me that this was our first rehearsal together as a four-piece and the first time we had ever met Tiff.  Tiff completed the line up in early 2020.”

The group cite numerous influences, from the likes of DIIV, Duster, The Cure, Bloc Party, The National, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Smiths and MBV, all the way to Eastern Europe, with post-punk bands like Buerak, Nürnberg and Molchat Doma.

Tiff, drawing from the likes of the Front Bottoms, Marina and Tired Lion believes her vocals bring a pop element to the group, widening their overall appeal. Their ambitions for the future, now that they finally have a clearer road ahead of them and a solid arsenal behind them, is simply to play excellent gigs.

“More than anything we’d like to make up for lost time and try to make our gigs twice as good for the ones we missed,” Mark says.

“We have loads of new material that we haven’t played to anyone.”

I’ve Been Dying to Tell You will be released on 4 November 2021 and will be available on all major music streaming platforms, including Spotify.

The EP will also  be released on a limited edition pink tint cassette by new Melbourne label Honeyglider Records.