"Hard Hold" captivates with its powerful songwriting and performances. It's an extraordinary album led by the singular talents of singer, songwriter and guitarist Cosima Jaala. In imaginative reach and emotional impact "Hard Hold" is striking: Jaala draws from soul, rock, and punk, but playfully innovates new musical forms to convey the energy of her ideas. These songs soar even as they plumb deep seas of feeling.
Warner Music Australia
The original "Buried Country" album was a landmark release. It shared music and stories from Australian Indigenous artists in the field of country music, celebrating artists whose significant contributions had previously been underappreciated or obscured. Songs from musicians such as Lionel Rose and Jimmy Little were compiled by writer Clinton Walker, and the CD was accompanied by a book and documentary of the same name. Fifteen years later an expanded re-release brings us to the present day: a vital new chapter in the story of Australian Aboriginal country music. The previous compilation is accompanied by nineteen additional songs including incredible music from Ruby Hunter, Dan Sultan and Thelma Plum.
Sam Shepherd is a DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist and neuroscientist. Or more simply: an overachiever. In the course of his career recording and performing as Floating Points he's established a reputation for innovation, and is known alongside contemporaries like Caribou and Four Tet as a leader in the modern dance realm. "Elaenia" is Floating Points' debut album, a suite of songs that display Sam's fascination with jazz and modern classical as much as his love of electronic and club music. The compositions are intricate, emotive, dynamic; sequenced to be enjoyed as individual movements or an entire set with a sweeping trajectory.
The singular vision and extraordinary talent of Joanna Newsom as a musician and songwriter is clearly documented on "Divers". The album explores a spectrum of themes from the physical to metaphysical, filled with stories of love, war, history and imagination. Joanna Newsom's melodies and arrangements are inventive, memorable, and moving as ever.
Cool Death Records
"Electric Glitter Boogie" is the debut album from Melbourne three-piece Power: a forceful blast of rock, punk and, well, electric glitter boogie. It's an uncompromising and original mix that reflects the chaos, charge, and charisma of their live shows, and further underlines why the band have earned comparisons to iconic groups like Coloured Balls and The Stooges. Power are with Cool Death, an exciting Australian label and renegade roster of artists behind a new wave of hardcore sounds in Australia.
Gold Class have earned a reputation for their formidable live shows, and "It's You" captures the energy and intensity of these sets. The record is loaded with modern post punk jams, taut melodies, pummelling rhythms, and the distinctive baritone of singer Adam Curley. The record concludes with a quiet, affecting ballad that reveals the band's diversity as performers.
U.S. Girls is the recording project of Meghan Remy, and "Half Free" is her debut for the celebrated 4AD label. The album offers an incisive collection of stories: political and personal, strange and familiar, deeply affecting vignettes. Musically the record provides a series of epiphanies: distinct arrangements that reach back across decades and genres whilst also looking forward to a brave pop future. Sample-based beats, '60s soul, experimental R&B, damaged dub and disco are some of the many reference points on this exceptional LP.
Have You In My Wilderness is further evidence of Julia Holter’s singular skill as a writer and musician. The song structures are unique, combining Julia's interests in classical, jazz, and experimental pop styles. Following previous album Loud City Song, which was united by an overarching narrative, Julia has described Have You In My Wilderness as a collection of separate, short stories, with lyrics that explore subjects of love, trust, and balance in relationships. As always, the record is packed with ideas and sounds that reveal themselves over multiple listens, an endlessly rewarding collection of ballads.
Robert Forster is one of Australia's most acclaimed songwriters, and a new album from him is a cause for celebration. Fans of his work with Grant McLennan in The Go-Betweens know his inimitable skill with lyrics and ease with subtly insistent melodies. The writing is deeply personal in style, clever and sympathetic, exploring universal themes. The timing is sure, the delivery is unmistakeable: understated and compelling. On this record Robert Forster is working with members of Brisbane’s the John Steel Singers, his wife Karin Bäumler and his son Louis.
First things first: 'The Great Mixtape' more than lives up to it's name. This debut offering is the perfect introduction to hip hop artist Sampa The Great. On each original track a deep knowledge and passion for soul, jazz, funk and blues shines through. Sampa is a lifelong student of music - with a reverence and respect for past masters - but Sampa is also a pioneer, and there's a thrill of discovery when hearing these songs that cross genres and rhythms with ease, exploring themes of identity and social politics with the playfulness and power of pure poetry.
Dot Dash/Remote Control
Secretly Susan is the new album from Sui Zhen, a Melbourne-based artist known for a wide range of musical styles, including acoustic folk, experimental pop and minimalist dance tracks. Secretly Susan combines the many talents of Sui Zhen into an extraordinary album of harmony and disquiet. Elements of skeletal post punk, romantic synth pop, lovers' rock, even bossa nova find their way into the rhythms and melodies. The lyrics, videos, and visuals explore shifting and elusive concepts of identity, place, memory, imagination and desire.
Bedroom Suck Records
"Illegals in Heaven" is the latest album from Brisbane's Blank Realm. The prolific band have spent years honing their skills and refining their approach, experimenting at the intersection of punk, garage, blues and pop. This record is a synthesis of all their great work, and represents a powerful statement, emotional and ideological. Ideas from musical movements past and present are redrawn to draft a template of something entirely new.
Mistletone / Sub Pop
Depression Cherry is the fifth album from Baltimore duo Beach House, the project of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. As with their previous records, this collection is both restrained in its method and powerful in its effect. The arrangements are subtle but deceptively complex. The rhythms are sparse but insistent. And the melodies and performances are quietly powerful, building over the album until the listener is utterly absorbed in the peace and disquiet of the songs.
What's Your Rupture?
The second album from Sydney's Royal Headache is hyper-charged, reflective, pensive and powerful. Their debut introduced an especially soulful approach to punk, and on High this artform is elevated to new peaks of expression. It's emotive and visceral, melodic and abrasive rock music, and at just under half an hour in length, no second is wasted.
August 14 - August 23
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Barely Dressed Records/Remote Control
"Kill It Yourself" is the second album from Melbourne artist Jess Ribeiro. It's a powerful collection of new material that draws on the country and folk elements of debut LP "My Little River" and extends into new territory. The songs are soulful, sorrowful, poetic and poignant; they traverse a range of styles, but are united through Jess Ribeiro's clear creative vision. In developing the record, Jess worked with Mick Harvey. Mick is himself a master of mood, familiar with the darker as well as the more illuminated paths of music.
The debut full-length from Ouch My Face is an inventive, ecstatic, dynamic and addictive collection of modern punk and art-rock recordings. Celeste Potter, Ben Ely and Ben Wundersitz have been playing and performing together since 2007, and Bunyip captures the spirit and energy of their legendary live shows.
Heavenly Recordings/Mushroom Group Promotions
"Y Dydd Olaf" is the debut album from Gwenno Saunders, an accomplished producer, DJ, broadcaster and singer from Cardiff. The title references a 1976 dystopian science-fiction novel by Owain Owain, and the songs are all sung in Welsh, except the final track performed in Cornish. The songcraft is impressive, the melodies memorable and the performances strong. Each track expertly evokes the eerie analogue pop and psychedelic grooves of BBC radiophonic pioneers such as Delia Derbyshire - and more recent innovators Broadcast and Stereolab - while maintaining their own, unique, identity.
Interscope / Universal
"Currents" is the third album from acclaimed Perth band Tame Impala, and a striking evolution in style and sound. The ringing rock guitars, dusty beats and floating melodies that derfined earlier records are accompanied here by stronger synthesiers, heavier rhythms, and deeper grooves. Lyrically "Currents" is an introspective record from singer, songwriter and producer Kevin Parker, but sonically it's a more expansive one, showing new sides of this singular and powerful force in modern music.
The Internet is the music project formed by Syd Tha Kid and Matt Martians back in 2011. Strongly allied with the Odd Future collective that also featured Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler The Creator, The Internet draw strongly on a hip hop tradition, but also explore the new frontiers of soul, modern R&B and experimental pop. "Ego Death" - their third album - is perhaps the most refined and impressive of their acclaimed output to date, synthesising a range of moods and ideas into a cohesive whole.
Dot Dash / Remote Control
"Oh Inhuman Spectacle" is the debut LP from West Australian outfit Methyl Ethel. It's an assured, and impressive full-length that covers a broad spectrum of styles. There's melodic garage rock, experimental pop and modern psychedelic production.
"Slow Gum" is the debut from Melbourne-based Fraser A Gorman. Having already performed and recorded with artists including Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard, Jen Cloher and Davey Lane, Fraser is an accomplished artist with a singular style and exceptional skill. His lyrics are poetic, poignant, and keenly observant. Some of the song arrangements are rich in detail - supported by an ensemble of musicians - and others strikingly sparse, guided by Fraser's memorable acoustic melodies and vocal delivery.
The debut album from Texan artist Leon Bridges feels like an unearthed gem from a former decade, perfectly preserved in time. Each song is impeccably constructed, drawing faithfully on traditional soul, boogie and blues. Leon's voice soars and dips through tales of heartache and redemption. There's a gentle, dusty vinyl crackle that seems to settle on the album, a subtle reminder of the vintage recordings that have inspired Leon Bridges in his songwriting.
"When We Talk About Love" is the latest chapter from Melbourne's celebrated band Oh Mercy. The title seems to refer to Raymond Carver's collection of short stories, and certainly it hints at the themes of the songs here: relationships, connections lost and gained, and an attempt to articulate this elusive subject. Oh Mercy excel in refined pop songcraft, and this is arguably their strongest work to date. The melodies are clear, and there's both a warm familiarity and a fresh invention to the arrangements. Alex Gow is questioning and comforting in his lyrics, as he offers more personal takes on the infinitely varied topic of love.
Lost Highway Australia/Universal
"Solitude" is the debut LP from Ruby Boots, the recording alias of Perth’s accomplished singer songwriter and instrumentalist Bex Chilcott. The album demonstrates Ruby Boots' extraordinary versatility as an artist, spanning rock and roll, Gospel, country and folk music traditions to create a fresh and memorable collection of songs.
XL Recordings/Remote Control
Jamie xx is well known as one third of London group The xx, but has also earned a strong following for his solo output as a producer. A few years ago his album of Gil Scott Heron remixes was widely praised, and his DJ sets and remixes have also been critically acclaimed for their inventiveness. "In Colour" is his debut full length, and covers a broad spectrum of modern dance music. Inspired heavily by the history of the UK club scene and pirate radio, the album spans underground beats, modern soul, R&B and electronic pop styles.