There's a particular range of emotions that arrive before the party, at the party, after the party: excitement, anxiety, vulnerability. Ordinary moments are elevated and by contrast our everyday lives are brought into focus. So too with Party, the new album from Aldous Harding. It's a rare artistic achievement, to evoke these heightened feelings and capture with poetry and precision something of our interior lives. But Aldous makes it appear effortless with her finger picked guitar melodies, slow deliberate piano chords, commanding, uniquely phrased vocals, strings, and subtle saxophone interludes. In this space the usual rules don't apply, and songs such as Imagining Your Man are punctuated with unexpected moments that thrill with playful boldness. Deep feelings and details that usually hide in the silence are amplified. And like the best parties it's a completely transporting experience.
Pioneering rock outfit Slowdive return after 22 years with a stunning self-titled album. Their early records helped shape the sound that came to be known as shoegaze; songs filled with dense layers of sound, crowded with feedback and distortion. The results were melodic, cacophonous, and entirely unfamiliar. It's testament to Slowdive's enduring sense of adventure and creative drive that they continue to find new spaces, ideas, and technologies to explore on this album.
'No Shape' is the fourth album from Perfume Genius, also known as Mike Hadreas. It's described by Perfume Genius as "approaching beauty and warmth and joy, but there’s always something unsettling, bubbling below.” In comparison to earlier recordings though, the darker undercurrents are somewhat overshadowed by a prevailing mood of optimism, resilience, alongside moments of catharsis and elation. Artful electronic pop and rich orchestral sounds reach celebratory heights, and the record culminates in a tribute to Mike's long-term partner, 'Alan'.
Sugar Fed Leopards return with their second record Take You Out Tonight - the title being a friendly provocation to dance and a sincere promise to celebrate good times. The Melbourne six-piece make it a party to remember with their spacious cosmic disco grooves, holiday moods, romantic rock, soulful pop and future jukebox staples.
'Follow The Sun' has a specific focus: the lesser known and under-appreciated music of Australian folk and rock in the 1970s. Like all great compilations which examine a particular time and place in music history, this collection is a complete revelation. Each song offers insight into the range, originality and talents of songwriters at work across the country during the decade. Various tracks reference styles of the era, but contain sounds and ideas outside of the mainstream. Others seem beamed from an alternate timeline of pop, chart toppers from a parallel dimension slightly stranger than our own. 'Follow The Sun' is compiled by deep-digging music enthusiasts Mikey Young (well known for his own singular musical output) and Keith Abrahamsson (Founder and Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings and Mexican Summer). Triple R’s own Lewis Fidock also contributes several tracks, drawing from his collection the only known 7” copy of Dave Douglas’ single 'Follow the Sun'. Archival photos, an illuminating personal essay from Mikey, and original artwork by James Vinciguerra offer even more layers to explore in this essential release.
Acclaimed hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar returns with fourth album “Damn”. It follows To Pimp A Butterfly, and the accompanying Untitled Unmastered release of last year. With characteristic, unique skill Kendrick creates dense, deeply reflective verses on politics, religion, culture and current affairs. The personal is linked with the universal in overarching narratives of damnation and redemption. Joining Kendrick on the record is Rihanna and U2, alongside contributions from BADBADNOTGOOD, James Blake, Kaytranada and The Internet’s Steve Lacy. The roots of ’70s soul and funk are embedded in the music, which also draws from the dusty breaks and chopped samples of ‘90s hip hop, and the spare electronic beats of trap.
Pure Comedy is the third album from Father John Misty, an extraordinary indie odyssey that presents the modern world through Josh Tillman's sharp satirical lens. Beautiful piano-led ballads and grand pop orchestrations set the scene for reflections on technology, politics, social media, human connections, fame and the progress of civilisation. The record is dense, complex, occasionally contradictory and confounding (to say nothing of Josh Tillman's absorbing interviews around the release). And the whole experience seems designed to elicit a strong response: to inspire, provoke, infuriate, or shed some light on the night that surrounds. The listener is ultimately left to laugh or despair or simply wonder at the Pure Comedy Josh Tillman has so vividly written, directed, produced and starred in.
Real World/Planet Company
République Amazone is the debut from Les Amazones d’Afrique, an exceptional collective of West African musicians including Pamela Badjogo, Massan Coulibaly, Mariam Doumbia, Mamani Keita, Angélique Kidjo, Nneka, Mariam Koné, Rokia Koné, Kandia Kouyaté, and Mouneissa Tandina. The name of the group is both an homage to the Dahomey Amazons, women warriors in modern-day Benin who protected West African borders for almost 200 years, and a tribute to the first all-female pop music group in Guinea, Les Amazones de Guinée. The project is dedicated to raising awareness for women's rights, and campaigning for gender equality. Funds raised from the record are going to the Panzi Hospital (a Congolese hospital founded in 1999 to help female survivors of violence). Production is contributed by Doctor L, known for his collaborations with Tony Allen and Mbongwana Star, among others. Songs on the album offer a unique combination of traditional African jazz, griot traditions and blues with hip hop, dub, electronic, funk and soul sounds.
The new album from Stephin Merritt contains one song for each of the first 50 years of his life. It's an extraordinary project for an artist already known for ambitious feats of conceptual songwriting, most notably his beloved 69 Love Songs album. Despite what the title suggests, the album isn’t a traditional autobiography; Merritt’s own life is abstracted through the context of world events, or social and cultural developments of various eras. Certain personal details are omitted, and instead songs return to themes, loves and memories that form constants in the shifting boundaries of his life. The instrumentals explore a range of genres that served as musical backdrops to each decade of Stephin's life, yet always manage to sound like signature Magnetic Fields material.
Rough Trade/Remote Control
English Tapas is the ninth album from Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods, and their first for iconic Rough Trade record label. For years the duo of Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn have honed a signature brand of minimalist rock and staccato punk poetry. No syllable is wasted and no beat is missed in their pointed skewering of contemporary society. The subjects of their satire vary, from politics, business and corruption, to lifestyle, consumer trends or anything else that captures their keen attention: Brexit, Supermarket Sweep, Snapchat and patriotism and organic pub food to name a few.
Sacred Bones/Rocket Distribution
Blanck Mass is the solo project of Benjamin John Power, also known as one half of electronic duo F**k Buttons. The noise, abrasiveness and intensity of that project is present in Blanck Mass, yet there’s strong undercurrents of quietness and light. The “World Eater” title and menacing bared teeth of the cover are clear indicators of the horror and upheaval Power perceived in his surroundings while recording, but he’s also been quoted describing the album as “pure countryside”. His new rural home environment is captured in field recordings of waterfalls, birds, and church choirs, and carefully introduced into the dense, widescreen vistas that populate the album. Tense industrial sounds, elevating pop melodies, shimmering shoegaze and experimental electronic passages all find a home on "World Eater"; contrasting passages of terror and uneasy peace.
'Not Even Happiness' is the second album from US artist Julie Byrne. It's an arresting album of sparse folk songs that offer new interpretations of Americana, blues and Laurel Canyon ballads. The record arrives after years of exploring the country, living and working elsewhere, but was written and recorded back in New York state in her childhood home. All the experiences gained and lessons learned from the journey are reflected in the poetic observations and insights of the songs' lyrics.
"A Quality of Mercy" is the debut album from Melbourne’s RVG, led by songwriter Romy Vager: a powerful LP of emotionally engaging work that draws inspiration from post-punk and new wave pop styles.The album title makes reference to an episode of cult TV show The Twilight Zone, which in turn relates to a Shakespearean speech from The Merchant Of Venice. Both the episode and the original quote reflect on concepts of empathy and finding alternative perspectives, key to the philosophical core of this RVG record.
Independent/Penney & Logan
Broads is the recording project of Melbourne duo Kelly Day and Jane Hendry, two artists also known for their work in vintage vocal pop group The Nymphs. Vacancy is the anticipated debut album, a showcase of the duo's virtuosity as singers, songwriters and arrangers. The cinematic set of the illustated cover seems to hint at the film-noir world within: a collection of songs that draw on traditions of country, folk and soundtrack scores.
Cool Death Records
Sydney quartet Orion formed in 2013 and have since accrued a loyal following for their live shows and cult cassette tape demo on Paradise Daily. Their debut arrives on acclaimed local label Cool Death, home to bands such as Power, Tyrannamen, and Tommy T and the Classical Mishaps, and like those other groups, Orion are uncompromising in the execution of their musical vision: strong pop songs suffused with punk intensity, shadowed by the tones and textures of No Wave. Elements of synths, guitars, bass drums and vocals blend to produce a compelling new sound with faint echos of the past.
Japanese film maker Kore-eda offers a vision of heaven in his 1999 film After Life. Individual souls who have passed away are given a week in a transitional building to reflect on their lives and select one memory they wish to save for eternity. Staff at the home recreate those times as best they can, and the soul lives within their happiest memory forevermore. Biscotti - the project of Carla Ori - presents a similar experience of bliss on her debut album. It's an auditory heaven drawing on the best of synth pop, disco, film scores, hip-hop and funk.
Run The Jewels is the project of Atlanta's Killer Mike and Brooklyn's El-P. Both artists have a long history of incisive, thought-provoking music and their third album together is arguably their most powerful. Incendiary raps are delivered over explosive beats as the duo confront pressing political and social issues. It's been termed "rap as resistance", and the urgency of their message could hardly be more timely. Joining the hip hop duo are guests including TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Kamasi Washington.
Running Back/Waving At Trains
Tornado Wallace is the recording alias of Lewie Day, a global ambassador for dance music in its manifold forms. Originally Melbourne based, now located much of the year in Berlin, Tornado Wallace is known for legendary DJ sets, progressive parties, and studio productions. After years of causing chaos in clubs, "Lonely Planet" is his debut album - an immersive adventure in sound that accomodates dancefloors as well as more meditative moments of listening. On the course of the journey Tornado Wallace explores new wave and new age, early synth music, dub, and disco, and modern electronic styles.
Enjoy the Holidays!
After another incredible year of music, Triple R's Album Of The Week will be back in 2017.
Liberation / Mushroom
The tenth album from legendary Australian singer songwriter Archie Roach is a sincere, soulful, sorrowful and spiritual call for love. It's a meditation on love's sustaining power, and healing power, in a time when we need it more than ever. The songs are imbued with gospel, jazz and rock traditions, carried by Archie's impassioned vocals and commanding, humanist lyrics.
Celebrated band The Dacios are back with an eagerly anticipated second album 'Beyond the Bottom Hour'. The current Dacios line up sees the return of original member Robert ‘Pops’ Johnson on drums, the introduction of noise guitar maestro Bonnie Mercer and the reunion of bass player Mindy Mapp with Bean and Linda J - who previously played together in Little Ugly Girls. Everything adds up to an enthralling rock'n'roll record, with shades of the blues, that builds on the band's already towering status.
Bad Apples Music/Golden Era/Mad Dog Publicity
A.B. Original is the collaborative project of hip hop artists Briggs and Trials, friends and collaborators from the Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri nations. Reclaim Australia is their debut together, an essential album of incisive lyricism and incendiary beats."Reclaim Australia" is a powerful musical statement, alive with modern beatcraft and references to the '90s West Coast era. And it's an essential political statement, beginning with a foreward by Archie Roach who places the record in the context of an ongoing historical campaign for Indigenous rights. Injustice, brutality and racism are pulled into focus, called out and challenged with sharp wordplay. Other collaborators include Dan Sultan, Gurrumul, Thelma Plum and Caiti Baker.
Dot Dash/Remote Control
Intrigue begins with the album title. Perhaps a reference to the iconic Victorian mountain range? Or maybe a hint at yin and yang, describing opposite and interconnected aspects of the natural world? The traditional Chinese characters translate as: yin “dark side of a hill” and yang “light side of a hill”. The precise meaning might be unclear, but listening to "You Yang" (like the "Ex-Tropical" LP before) it’s certain Lost Animal knows how to harness opposing forces in music. Elements of post-punk, funk, dub, disco, jazz, r&b, rock, calpso, and blues are all recast, seen in new light, thrown into shadow. And like the granite ranges of the title, songs take shape and change and evolve, revealing themselves over time.
A Tribe Called Quest are hailed as one of the most important and influential of all groups in hip hop, rising as part of the Native Tongues collective that also included Jungle Brothers and De La Soul in the late ‘80s. Pioneering in their eclectic sampling and jazz-influenced beats, they also became known for progressive, inventive, philosophical, Afrocentric lyricism. Phife Dawg, who sadly passed away earlier this year, Q-Tip and Jarobi all contributed something unique that was heightened in their interplay. "Love Movement" LP from 1998 was long considered to be their last, but "We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service" represents the very welcome return of all three artists to the one record. The album is especially timely, addressing divisions and inequalities deepened in the recent U.S presidential campaign. It's a powerful final statement, a tribute to Phife Dawg, and a call to new generations of hip hop makers. Contributions also arrive from familiar friends and new collaborators Consequence and Busta Rhymes, André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, Kanye West, Anderson Paak, and Talib Kweli.
Leonard Cohen is known and revered for his contributions as a novelist, poet, singer and songwriter over decades of acclaimed output. In 2008 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the time his friend Lou Reed offered an elegantly succinct tribute: “We’re so lucky to be alive at the same time Leonard Cohen is.” Following the sad news of his passing, manager Robert Kory wrote "unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed..He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come." You Want It Darker is the fourteenth and final of Cohen's recordings, reflections on spirituality, desire and suffering, their ambiguities and intersections. The music is relatively sparse but reflects all the folk and blues, religious and romantic traditions that Leonard Cohen spent a lifetime studying and mastering. The album was produced by Leonard's son Adam, and features contributions from the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir and Cantor Gideon Zelermyer from Cohen's hometown of Montreal.
Weyes Blood is the recording name of Californian artist Natalie Mering and "Front Row Seat to Earth" is her latest album, a superlative collection of modern folk and chamber pop orchestrations.The LP evokes a perfectly preserved world of '70s Laurel Canyon anthems and forgotten West coast soul, all created with a precise palette of instruments: subtle percussion, piano, muted brass, acoustic guitar and Mering's voice. A sublte layer of static and electronic manipulation serves as a prism to amplify the timeless quality of the songs, bathed in hazy ambience. Lyrics reflect both a state of harmony and discord. The Earth of the title is described at a distance and felt at close quarters, varying perspectives on connectedness and change.