Here we are. Halfway through a mammoth year of music in 2018 and still powering strong. Soon, I will give you a ‘Best of…so far’ playlist so you can debate what should have made it. That’s the beauty of music, and art in general; everyone has different tastes and there are no right or wrong opinions. Sure, I don’t understand why some people like to listen to certain bands or artists. Especially those artists that release songs that sound the same as the last ones or every other song on the charts, but hey…each to their own, right?
As I’ve matured, I’ve learnt to not get upset by other people’s tastes, rather, I’ve accepted, learnt and sometimes adapted my own, depending on what’s popular, viral or despised. I’m always happy to hear your favs though. Hit me up!
I’ve featured her before this year, but there’s no reason why we can’t include this great talent again. Odette is not only getting better and better with each release, but our appetites are well and truly whetted for the release of her debut album, To A Stranger, in two short weeks. Lotus Eaters, based on Greek mythology and written as a high-schooler, shows off Odette’s spoken word chops, a beautifully unique style, and her piano playing. Let this song dance over you and look forward to the 6th of July with yearning.
The Gooch Palms want you to enjoy yourself. Their music is upbeat, their attitude is light-hearted and they’re just stupidly fun. With the announcement that they’ve signed up to The Dune Rats’ ‘Ratbag Records’ label, they’ve released this brand newy, Busy Bleeding. and it’s perfect pop-punk. They’ve also nicely brought in new label mate, Kelly Jansch, from Wollongong’s TOTTY. It’s one fuck-off happy family at Ratbag and this track, tackling to subject of menstruation in only the way they can. Check out the video…unless you can’t handle the sight of (fake) blood!
After stepping away from the group, Little May, to travel and pursue art in it’s other forms with drawing and clothing design, Annie Hamilton has returned, via Iceland and in solo form, to release this absolute boomer of a track, Fade. Self-produced and recorded in Sydney’s Marrickville and at a home studio, it builds quickly and features layered vocals over driving guitar chords. At just over three minutes, it leaves you wanting so much more, but I get the feeling there is a lot more to come. Delicately powerful.
Just three weeks ago, I brought you a brand new track from Perth’s Feels and with a flick of their drumstick, we are treated to another track, this time teaming up with fellow West Australian and talented songwriter, Stella Donnelly. They Need Us is not only a exploration of talented percussion and electronica, it’s a song with a powerful message. Calling out the barrage of treatment that women deal with in the music industry on the reg, this track pulls no punches. “Did you make that beat yourself?.”, “You’re in a band, are you the singer?”, “Seeing you chicks up there in action…it was cute.”. I can’t begin to understand or have experienced the sorts of comments, catcalling and derogatory comments that women musicians are subject to, but this song goes a little way to highlighting it, as does the WOMPP website, that which Elise Reitze and Rosie Taylor co-founded.
Born in Nigeria and obsessed with American hip-hop as a youngster, Obongjayar now gets a chance to make his own music and it’s sublime. Straying from his origins in hip-hop, the singer now delves into soul-like spoken word and delicate singing over sparse beats. Adjacent Heart exposes the sensitivities of an artist that is finding his own voice. Switching from sweet falsetto to gruff spoken word, you’d be excused for thinking there were two artists on this track. Finishing with flourishes of bird-like sounds, glistening guitar and echoes. It’s a beautifully delivered song to further launch this now London-based artist.
You may know it as the name of a famous Billy Idol track or a defiant war-cry, but Brisbane’s REBEL YELL is something different altogether. It is the moniker of Grace Stevenson, a Brisbane producer of industrial electronica that will leave your head spinning. Edgy, innovative and unique techno is hard to find, especially in Australia, but this track, Human Transaction, from her very excellent debut album, HIRED MUSCLE, is a brilliant example of all of the above. Inspired by being chosen for your looks, the track pulls no punches and drips with venom. Get futuristic, get pulsing, get off to a new-wave of techno.
The Dead Love have flung us another track as they announce a deal with 123 Agency and an east-coast tour. I’ve gotta say, it’s great too see musicians Australia-wide raising the issue of toxic masculinity and violence towards women. Wake Up explores how men so often say nothing, even when they know other men around them may be doing the wrong thing. Calling out, talking to other men, looking out for each other, but not excusing it. It’s a slamming, but slower grungy rock track with some nice shades of light and dark. I like the direction these guys are going in.
The writing chops of KLP (aka Kristy Lee Peters) are not to be underestimated. Through a number of increasingly impressive singles, usually embedded in a dance-pop style, there’s a heaps substance to be found in the tracks that may be dismissed because of the genre. Amnesia explores a summery-groove in a loose-house feel, but the structure, the writing and the clever electronic transitions set this apart from your usual 3 and a half minute pop songs. Not only does she write for herself, but with a number of collaborative credits with artists like What So Not, Slumberjack, The Presets, Set Mo, Thandi Phoenix and Nicole Millar, KLP is really creating a massive name for herself both her and abroad.
Take note of the name, Kwame, and remember where you were when you first heard him. The rapper from Western Sydney is only just starting to make a name for himself, but he’s quickly going to become not only a household name in Australia, but internationally as well. He features in a new track, teaming up with local producer Dro Carey, his hype-man slash fellow rapper Raj Mahal and London MC, Renz. Atmosphere builds on some grimey beats, bass grooves and horns and features verses from all the MCs that showcase an impressive combination of skills. Kwame has just been announced as the triple j Unearthed Splendour in the Grass competition. Get out there early and catch him live. You’ll thank me.
Rounding out the playlist this week is some sheer joy from Canberra’s East Row Rabble. Their debut self-titled EP is a tight delivery of funk, soul and blues with Ben Drysdale (from Beth and Ben) crooning as he does and teaming up with members of the Brass Knuckle Brass Band. The EP contains a bunch of previously released tracks, but one of older one has been re-recorded and it’s damn fire. Aliens In My Brain 2.0 uses horns to set the scene, Drysdale’s voice dances over a funky track that leads the EP. Get out and see this group live when you can. Good times, guaranteed!