'IV' is the concise name given to BADBADNOTGOOD’s expansive fourth album, an exciting new chapter in the Toronto collective’s storied career. Starting as a trio in 2010, the group quickly attracted attenton for their playful hybrid sound, a fusion of hip hop and jazz traditions. Since then they've recorded an album of smoky cinematic soul with Ghostface Killah of the Wu Tang Clan and jammed with Tyler The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt of subversive hip hop collective Odd Future. Just for fun they occasionally perform impossible feats of musical dexterity, covering complex electronic tracks like James Blake’s 'CMYK'. 'IV' draws these many interests and experimental tendencies into focus. There’s futurist R&B grooves, classic lounge and fusion jazz, breakbeats and deep blues balladry. The instrumental passages alternate with vocal contributions from friends and collaborators Sam Herring of Future Islands, Charlotte Day Wilson, Kaytranada and Mick Jenkins.
“One Of Us” is the third record from Melbourne’s Cash Savage and The Last Drinks - it’s a particularly apt title for an album which grapples so thoughtfully and skilfully with questions, cares, ideas and experiences known to all humanity. Cash Savage is recognised for her supreme storytelling skill, and across this new collection of songs recounts certain peaks and lows of the past year, always with compassion and humour, wisdom and insight. The potent lyrics are matched by equally impassioned musical performances: a clear, indomitable spirit is imbued in each country, folk, blues and rock arrangement.
Upset The Rhythm
Terry HQ is the debut LP from Terry, a Melbourne-based four-piece whose members also appear in leading local groups like Total Control, Constant Mongrel, Dick Diver, Mick Harvey Band and Eastlnk. The album is a powerful, playful, poignant and pointed collection of minimalist punk, post-punk, lo-fi folk and no wave. Musically and lyrically the record is charged with a radical energy and political undercurrent making it a highly suitable soundtrack for the current climate of uncertain and unsettled times.
One of the most antipated sequels of any act in recent history, Melbourne’s The Avalanches return after 16 years with their second LP.
"Wildflower" follows "Since I Left You", the celebrated debut that famously used more than 3500 samples to create a tapestry in the tradition of albums like Paul’s Boutique. While there are stylistic, sonic and thematic connections that link the two records, Wildflower creates an entirely new world for listeners to explore. Layered sounds, melodies and fragmented memories combine with the contributions of various collaborators to produce a psychedelic pop and hip hop opus. The Avalanches themselves have the record as a "road trip" in an expansive country, "capturing that feeling of growing up...jumping in the car...and heading out to the bush."
ANTI FADE/Flightless Records/Remote Control
Birth is the debut album from Geelong band ORB. All three members previously played in beloved garage outfit The Frowning Clouds, but here they reveal a different side of their musical talents. A shared love of Black Sabbath and Megadeth shines through the doom and proto metal sounds, filtered with a fine sense of sci-fi psychedelia, prog rock, and pop. Lots of fuzz, plenty of grooves, humour, riffs and the beginning of something new.
There is something especially transporting about Emma Russack's music. The lyrics are filled with recollections, reflections, and poetic detail. And the subtle folk-inflected arrangements - sometimes sparse and elsewhere rich in texture - all evoke a state of mind or state of being. Place, feeling, memory, the interior and exterior life are captured and conveyed; sometimes moments, sometimes days, years or even longer chapters are condensed and felt within the span of a song.
In The Red
"La Araña Es La Vida" is the fourth album from US garage rock quartet, fronted by LA punk veteran Kid Congo. With decades of experience across numerous musical mainstays such as The Gun Club, The Cramps and the Bad Seeds, Kid Congo continues to surprise longterm fans and new listeners with this energised collection of work. His potent blend is made from a fusion of blues, garage, early punk, surf and South American rock, and finishes with a tentative triptych of slide guitar sketches that recall the eternal classic "Sleepwalk."
Kane Ikin is a master of immersive music: vast fields of sound and rhythmic waves that crash, compress, surround and stretch to infinity. The Melbourne-based composer and producer's latest record is remarkable for its synthesis of numerous styles and its ability to explore dark depths with a clarity and lightness of touch. Tense trip hop textures, tenebrous techno tones and dystopian dub dynamics all work to create an atmospheric aural experience; cinema for the mind like a modern-day Blade Runner or Akira soundtrack.
The latest compilation from international charity Red Hot Organisation is a 59 track tribute to the Grateful Dead, a celebrated counter-cultural rock band/institution beloved of "Deadheads" everywhere. Curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, the 5CD set features playful, faithful, and irreverent interpretations of original Grateful Dead tracks by artists such as Courtney Barnett, Sharon Van Etten, Perfume Genius, War On Drugs, Bill Callahan, and Jenny Lewis.
Under The Sun is the latest record from an artist known for pioneering work across a range of musical styles. Mark Pritchard continues his explorations of new territory on this album, presenting a range of cinematic, atmospheric, and immersive tracks. The instrumental moments explore modern classical and shadowy electronic ambience, and vocal tracks explore traditional folk and modern psychedelic music, featuring contributions from artists Linda Perhacs, Thom Yorke, and Bibio.
Camp Cope formed in 2015, three friends and musicians inspired to perform the solo work of singer Georgia Maq. There's a rawness, strength, and vulnerability to the recordings that's striking; it's an approach that underscores well Georgia's poignant and poetic lyrics. Experiences of shiftwork in a hospital, the minutiae of sharehouse living in Footscray, and more broadly questions around gender and identity are all covered on this remarkable debut record.
Rough Trade / Remote Control
"Hopelessness" is the debut solo album from ANOHNI - formerly known as Antony Hegarty, leader of the chamber pop ensemble Antony and the Johnsons. Renowned for her singularly striking and expressive songs, ANOHNI here Works with Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never to create an album that blend anthemic electronic production with incisive political and social commentary. It's impassioned, uncompromising, sorrowful and ecstatic, filled with reflections on subjects ranging from climate change, conflict, and control. ANOHNI calls for radical change, and a radical reevalutaion of our relationship with the environment and others.
XL Recordings/Remote Control
Kaytranada is the recording name of Montreal based producer Louis Kevin Celestin. For many years the artist has represented a unique blend of electronic music, one founded in hip hop, indebted to funk and disco, and filtered through the heaviest underground dance styles of the '90s and new millenium. Kaytranada's signature remixes and singles often carry jazz-infused melodies, rugged breaks and buzzing basslines. 99.9% is the debut full-length record. It combines his strengths, and offers new styles to appreciate. Impressive contribitions from the Internet's Syd, Anderson .Paak, AlunaGeorge, Little Dragon, BADBADNOTGOOD, Vic Mensa, GoldLink, and more feature throughout the record.
Bedroom Suck Records
In Search Of Free Time is the second album for the Melbourne quartet fronted by Panel of Judges' Dion Nania. Joined by members of Twerps, Totally Mild and Terrible Truths, the record is a sweeping, searching, soaring record of adventurous pop music. Out on Bedroom Suck Records.
Independent/ The PR Files
The debut solo album from Melbourne-based Gabriella Cohen is a masterfully written and produced display of modern songcraft. Each song playfully explores and redraws the boundaries of punk-infused pop, garage rock, surf, psych, and post-punk balladry. Inventive and revelatory arrangements are matched by the poeticism and incisiveness of Gabriella's lyrics. For new listeners "Full Closure and No Details" is an impressive introduction - or, for existing fans, a further demonstration - of the artist's unique skills and talents, as well as those of the band.
"The Hope Six Demolition Project" is PJ Harvey's ninth album, recorded last year at Somerset House in London as an art installation open to observation by members of the public. While writing the songs (as well as her poetry book The Hollow of the Hand), the English artist Harvey traveled to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C. with photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy. The lyrics capture PJ Harvey's exploration of these regions and investigations into themes of conflict, dislocation and inequality. The same disquiet and urgency reflects in the music. Mournful blues and discordant jazz tones permeate the rock soundscapes, all united by PJ Harvey's powerful vocals.
Charles Bradley, also known as "The Screaming Eagle of Soul", adds to his impressive catalogue of work on Daptone with latest album "Changes", named for an extraordinary re-interpretation of the Black Sabbath original. It's another assured collection of modern soul music, a reflection of the unique dynamic that exists between the superlative musicians of the Daptone camp, and the unique, compelling voice of Mr Bradley. Behind each song is a rare strength of emotion and wealth of experience that's deeply affecting.
"Post Pop Depression" is the seventeenth studio album from the celebrated singer-songwriter, and rock music stalwart Iggy Pop. It was written and produced in collaboration with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age/Eagles Of Death Metal), and deals with themes of mortality, sensuality, and creative legacy. It is deeply reflective, melancholic, arriving as it does in the wake of profound personal tragedy and loss for both artists. The musical tone is energetic and intense, with grooves and angular riffs that recall Iggy’s earlier collaborations with his friend and mentor David Bowie.
"A Man Alive" is the fourth album from San-Francisco-based singer, songwriter, and musician Thao Nguyen. The record offers a balance of deeply reflective lyrics, insightful storytelling and playfully adventurous arrangements. Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs assists with production - her unique approach can be heard in the percussive funk and experimental pop configurations throughout this outstanding collection of new material.
Tropical Fuck Storm Records/Secret Service
"Feelin' Kinda Free" is the title of The Drones' seventh studio album. What exactly that feels like is something the iconic Australian band address with characteristic insight and intensity over the course of the record. Songs deal with compromised or qualified freedom in politics, in media, in society and in personal encounters, either directly or phrased with allusion. There's absolute freedom though in the musical ideas on offer. Fans of The Drones and new listeners alike will find much to appreciate in the controlled chaos and experimental rock grooves and dirges.
Heron Oblivion is a powerful quartet of American noise rock and psychedelic folk artists, each with their own history in the scene. Singer and drummer Meg Baird previously played in Philadelphia-based folk collective Espers and has three solo records released via Drag City label. Ethan Miller and guitarist Noel Von Harmonson were both members of Comets on Fire while second guitarist Charlie Saufley is also known for contributions to Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound. This formidable set of talents is brought together to produce an exceptional album of vintage-leaning rock'n' roll both quietly internal and loudly expansive.
Drag City/Spunk/Caroline Australia
Ty Segall is a prolific musician, singer songwriter, and producer at the heart of San Francisco's vibrant garage rock community. This is Ty's eighth solo album in roughly ten years, released alongside numerous other records from his several bands, side-projects, and collaborations. Each record offers a new perspective on his writing, and "Emotional Mugger" is as playful as any in his catalogue, racing through ideas, riffs and psychedelic grooves.
"Adore Life" is the incendiary second album from rock and post-punk outfit Savages. It follows "Silence Yourself" which was released to acclaim in 2013, and extends on the songwriting strength and powerful performances of that debut. Lyrically the record centres on themes of love, with all the associated complexity and contraditions. For the arrangements Savages set out to take their rock and punk sound to extremities of noise and intensity.
"Livin’On A High Note" is the new album from Mavis Staples, an iconic artist whose influence and impact in the fields of R&B, gospel, soul, and civil rights activism over many decades is unparalleled. The record features songs specifically written for Mavis by artists such as NickCave, tUnE-yArds, Neko Case and Aloe Blacc among others, and all are performed with singular skill and resonance.
Highway 20 Records/Cooking Vinyl
Lucinda Williams has been responsible for shaping the sound of alt-country and Americana music for over four decades, and "The Ghosts Of Highway 20" is a striking addition to her extraordinary, influential catalogue. The record follows 2014's "Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone", and continues to explore similar themes of loss, love and heartbreak with Lucinda's inimitable lyrical skill. Musically the record is occasionally more sombre and subdued in tone: the country blues, soul and rock songs are played at a slower, mournful pace.
Melbourne's NO ZU are pioneers of Heat Beat and a global force in music. The dynamic group have created a new paradigm in polyrhythmic post-punk and contemplative club chaos: heavy percussion, urgent vocals and incendiary jazz phrases are layered in multi-instrumental arrangements that move the heart, feet and mind to exciting and unfamiliar places.