Some weeks, the playlist creates itself – when music, from artists you already know and love, release music that you feel like you have to feature. The trick is, however, to try and expand my horizons, so I’ve forgone a couple of favourites acts that I’ve added in previous week to include a couple of new ones you may not have heard of. Oh, the tribulations of making a weekly playlist! 🤔😉😬
Also, look out for a very special premiere on this very blog tomorrow…
When you think of super-groups, you may think of boygenius or Them Crooked Vultures, to name a couple, but one of the best that Australia has ever produced is the combination of Sarah Blasko, Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby . Seeker Lover Keeper have finally returned after their hugely amazing and popular debut album in 2011. Their voices complement each other beautifully and Let It Out is a careful, sensitive song that sparks the excitement for a return tour and presumed album to come. Check out the wonderful video featuring Magda Szubanski as well.
With this being Reconciliation Week in Australia, it’s a perfect time to think about how we can acknowledge and appreciate our indigenous cousins a lot more in this country. One of the best voices, from the Arrernte/Gurindji mob on his mother’s side, Dan Sultan, teams up with one of the best groups in the country, The Bamboos to re-imagine a track that they released with Daniel Merriweather in 2012. Complete with an orchestral accompaniment, this track builds and swells spectacularly around Sultan’s voice. It is part of a whole album of remakes the group have created that goes along with a special show.
I have no hesitation in saying that one of the best voices we have inherited from New Zealand into Australia is that of now-Sydney resident, Wallace. Watching her live is an enthralling experience, her vocal acrobatics seemingly impossible. Her brand new track, Jane Doe, is another perfect example of that neo-soul sound that she has made her own. Recorded in Berlin, there’s a touch of the modern eclectic in this one and I’m digging it.
It’s hard to believe that 7 Years is just the second release from Dust Of Us. This brotherly duo obviously have a history that’s much longer and it shows. Collaborating with the voice of We Are The Brave, this track explores a myriad of sound, electro-backing and effects that are best appreciated on some good headphones. The sweet vocal of Jess Chalker is in stark contrast the moody deepness from Edward & Lloyd Prescott but dances with the exquisite production. Will they continue their good form? I’m guessing, yes.
It’s not often I’ll feature a track that goes for 9 minutes and 19 seconds, but when it’s the return of Shining Bird, you have to sit back, take the time and let it take you with it. Who Are We is slow-build, experimental folk-esque track that will have you reconsidering what you’re doing living in a fast-paced modern life. It feels fitting for a band that can come from the small south-coast NSW town of Austinmer. It appears they are not resting on their laurels after the wonderful 2016 album, Black Opal. Take 10 minutes out of your day and let this one-take wonder transport you to another plane.
They have created such huge interest from their last song (DFTM), that the appetite has been whet for what’s new from our favourite Wollongongian duo, Cry Club. Their new single, Two Hearts, attempts to be soft, but even if it doesn’t quite succeed as a love song, it’s their most sugary song to date and it’s a celebration of “complicated, sucky love”. I love the voice of Heather over layers of thick electro-beats. They still retain a sense of softness though and hey, you can still dance to it. Keen to keep exploring this duo as they surprise us.
When you’re 21 and have just been signed to Briggs’ Bad Apples label, you know you’re on a winner and that’s exactly where Kobie Dee finds himself as he prepares to hit the stage of the Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid this week. The Gamilaroi rapper from Maroubra has been making waves because of his relentless smooth vibes and a knack for story-telling that rappers dream of. New track, Jody, is the perfect example of that skill, sharing a dark story of a youngster, his cousins and their brutal experiences. This is pretty heavy, but vital listening from a talent of the future, right here and now.
Take in some neo-grunge with the latest single from Melbourne band, The Nicoteenagers. Yeah, I’m not sure on the band name, but they make a mean alt-rock track and are about to drop their debut album on Friday. Black Lips borrows a bit from Stone Temple Pilots – understated guitars and a laid-back swagger lead into a crushing solo and edgy finale that I really like. There’s something worth listening to here and keen to get addicted.
Hip-hop can get pretty serious sometimes, so it’s nice to hear a lighter vibe now and then. Sydney MC, Phil Fresh, explores a cheeky side with I’m The Man and it’s a bloody beaut. With some help from Sela Moon, the tracks takes aim at ‘jabronis’ with ‘clout’ that feel the need to front. It crashes through the facade and is as real as the artist himself. The self proclaimed ‘King of Tonga’ is due to release an EP, FRESHY, later this year and I’m keen to keep up.
Fresh out of Sydney are Reality Instructors and they’ve wasted no time releasing a debut album, Ritual Ignorant. This track, the first on the album and seeming their title track, is a perfect place to start. Reality Instructor shows off their guitar chops and voice that cuts through with an urgency that doesn’t let up on this whole album. They feel like the perfect band to see on a Friday night when you just want to cut free from the working week and there’s a seemingly powerful message they’re working to convey. Don’t believe me, listen for yourself.
(Spotify playlist updates with the latest week, each week)
(click on album art to view videos of tracks)
(Click through to Spotify profile for all monthly playlists)