This week has seen a bunch of Australia’s big guns drop brand new tracks. Along with that, there is a great mix of international tunes as well. Like usual, this is an eclectic bunch; from the cutthroat trash-punk of Amyl and the Sniffers to the smooth-delicious funk of Leon Bridges. Every week, I enjoy seeking out some of the best new tracks around cause it gives me a chance to listen to a heap of new tunes and that’s what it’s all about, right?
It’s safe to say that 2016 was the year of A.B. Original. They burst onto the scene as two already successful artists in their own right to form a duo that is now impenetrable. Reclaim Australia was, not only a ground-breaking hip-hip album, it has reset the line of what song-writing along with activism can do in this country. Blaccout is the brand new song from Briggs and Trials and it’s absolutely killer. It’s brazen, bristling with raw energy and explores a new direction in sound, with a bunch of trap-infused sounds and honks but still retains the hardened lyrical side that we’ve come to expect. Could 2018 be owned by these two again?
Speaking of huge Australian artists, there aren’t many bigger than Courtney Barnett. With this, our second taste of her new album; Need A Little Time, we get quite melodic from the Melburnian. It’s a fairly slow number that rumbles along smoothly with her now iconic drawly vocal. You should definitely check out the elaborately made and very cool Alien inspired outer-space video clip too! ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ is out Friday 18th May on Milk! Records. Huge!
DREAMS. It’s not a hugely original band name. Haven’t we heard it before? It’s a name you’ll hear a lot of though as Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson, Empire of the Sun) and the one and only Daniel Johns (silverchair. duh.) team up for a new banger of a tune. No One Defeats Us is its name and the first thing you notice is the dank kick-drum before Luke’s noticeable vocal chimes in. “It’s a very simple song, it has no chorus, it feels like a mantra”, declare Johns. Daniel Johns is a huge talent and anything he touches seems to be turn to gold, so this could be a dream collab. Of course.
I can’t not include the first new song from Pearl Jam in five years. Yes, Eddie Vedder, fresh off a perfect performance at the Oscars, returns with his band that helped shape the ‘90s for me. Can’t Deny Me is a less than 3 minute screamer of a protest track. Vedder’s in angry mode for this one and you get the feeling that maybe he’s talking at a certain orange someone. “Try to talk down to me/My mind it ain’t so simple/Where’s your vocabulary?/Your ignorance is sinful”. Pumped to hear more from this band 27 years after Ten.
Onto something a lot quieter. Australia’s Vancouver Sleep Clinic, an excellently weird name, has teamed with Atlanta’s Raury for the second time to conceive this smooth rolling track, Vixen. Recorded quickly in a late night session at a studio in Brisbane, it feels like a perfect morning come-down track. “It’s a lighter vibe that gives our take on the confusing nature of young love”, declares Tim Bettinson. There’s a lot going on in the making of this music and it is sure to manifest itself into an album later this year. I’ll be looking forward to hearing it.
While we’re in the mood for something smooth, you have to check out the new Leon Bridges track. He is just the epitome of cool. His sings with a swagger that oozes around everything he does. His debut album, Coming Home, from a couple of years ago was massive and this, the first taste of the new upcoming album is a little more up-beat than some of his earlier gospel stuff. I dig the new sound though. There’s a killer walking bass-line and a cool af guitar line that you just need to hear which takes the track out. Can’t wait to see this live when he comes back to Australia.
Time to explore the new album from Sydney’s Flowertruck. Mostly Sunny is the brand new album released last week and one of the highlights for me is Falling Asleep. It’s a short and sweet little ditty that shows off exactly why this band opened people’s eyes a couple of years ago. Jangly guitar, shouty (you might say off-key?) vocals that remind me of Eddy Current Suppression Ring or old-school punk track and fun 2 and a half minute track that doesn’t do more than it needs to. It’s just…. Fun. Check out the album for a taste of what’s cooking in Sydney’s inner-west.
Every week, I seem to select a song that starts on a sweet-arse bass line and this week is not exception. Choking to Choose from Melbourne’s punk-trio Cable Ties starts with a noisy fast-paced bass line and the track doesn’t hold up for nearly 5 minutes. This song feels like it would be perfect to play on the open-road as you’re driving somewhere, preferably away from somewhere, fast. If you can believe it, it continues to build to a screaming crescendo, with singer Jenny McKechnie giving it everything. I really love this band.
While we’re on the punk trip, check out the latest from Amyl and the Sniffers. This four-piece from Melbourne are just hella fun. Their live show is growing with infamy and their short, pumping killer punk-trashy-rock tracks are getting noticed around the world. Cup of Destiny could be used as the unofficial World Cup song? Produced by Joey Walker of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard after recently signing to their Flightless Records label, there is no stopping this group. You wait, their band name might come up as a joke amongst friends, but when they go huge, they won’t be stopped.
I’ll finish off this weeks playlist with a quieter and ethereal new track from Happy Axe. Having been introduced to the violin of Emma Kelly at the National Live Music Awards last year, I was happy to find out she comes from Canberra and her voice is like melting honey. With her violin and her voice, she creates a world unlike anything you’ll hear on the Australian music scene. Although, I must admit that this track, Seven Sounds, did remind me of a certain Nick Cave and Bad Seeds track. Really love the broody bass underlying her gentle lyric and the way that the sound seems to fill the space until the long fade out. Beautiful stuff. Happy Axe‘s debut album, Dream Punching, will be released later this year on Tim Shiel’s Spirit Level label.