Spunk!/ Saddle Creek
Adrianne Lenker has a deep understanding of songcraft, developed over almost two decades in music. Her guitar playing began at six years old, there was a first solo record was released at 14, and a few years ago her dream of finally starting a band was realised. Big Thief's debut - a lifetime in the making - was called"Masterpiece", filled with intimate autobiographical and allegorical storytelling. The new songs are just as powerful, expressions of personal and universal mysteries; of interconnectedness, family, identity, suffering and transcendence.This sublety and complexity is mirrored in the arrangements, which draw on indie, rock and folk traditions.
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.
Barely Dressed Records/Remote Control Records
“Time Is Golden” is a profound testament to the gifts of its author, Adrian Slattery, and the extended family around him. A singularly talented songwriter and singer, Adrian was an integral member of Melbourne’s music community, known also for his work with Major Major, and involvement in the scene surrounding The Smith Street Band and Yeo among others. Adrian passed away in May this year, a year after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. "Time Is Golden" stands as a legacy, but as Adrian himself said: “this is not the story of heartbreak or of illness, it is the story of living and all that it entails.”
The songs - produced over an intensive four-month recording period - draw upon years of craft and creativity. Anchored in soulful country sounds, they reflect a love of any music that moves you, whether it be a waltz, a rolling rock ballad, or soaring pop melody. Each composition is intricately detailed and beautifully realised, carrying a spirit that reaches far, along roads, across distances and stretches of time. It concludes with the astonishing “Honey, I”, an urgent, propulsive rhythm that builds to a chorus that catches your breath, the depth and tone in Adrian's voice as he sings the lyric of the title expressing everything that cannot be said.
Wing Sing / Redeye International
The Peep Tempel return with their third album 'Joy', a peerless collection of punk rock narratives offering a full spectrum exploration of the human psyche. Amidst the uncompromising riffs and rallying rhythms are songs about tragedy, romance, hubris and hope, and neuroplasticity. In describing the album, lyricist and guitarist Blake Scott cites inspirations from Australia's history, the filmography of Yorgos Lanthimos, and made-up melodies from dredged-up dreams.
"A Seat at the Table" is the third album from Solange Knowles: a singular artistic achievement that encompasses soul and R&B traditions, but also paves new paths through modern hip hop, pop and rock. Solange explores numerous themes in her powerful lyrics, providing perspectives and insights on gender and race, politics and identity, injustice and healing. The album is released via her own platform for pushing progressive and experimental musical ideas - the Saint Records label - in conjunction with Columbia records. As the album developed Solange invited contributions from a range of collaborators. Early recording sessions took place with Melbourne's Midnight Juggernauts, and later Solange worked with David Andrew Sitek of TV on the Radio, Patrick Wimberly of Chairlift, and David Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors. Rap/soul pioneers Q-Tip, Questlove, and Raphael Saadiq feature on the final mixes, alongside likeminded innovators Kwes, Kindness, and Sampha.
Three years ago D.D. Dumbo released his Tropical Oceans EP, a striking collection of original material featured alongside a beautiful re-working of Roy Orbison's "Crying". Utopia Defeated is the long awaited follow-up, and debut LP from the Castlemaine-based artist. It's a powerful, inventive, and distinctive collection of experimental pop, regional blues, folk and electronic styles. Artful arrangements, immaculate sound design, and imaginative multi-instrumental melodies all reflect different elements of D.D. Dumbo's skill as a songwriter and producer.
Dot Dash/Remote Control
The Nullarbor plain occupies a unique place in the Australian consciousness: a vast, arid region entirely devoid of trees; the world's largest limestone bedrock plain that stretches for hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. It's a harsh territory that must be crossed when making the journey from the west to east coast of Australia. It's significant in the history and identity of friendships, the audio visual project of Nic and Misha. Nic grew up in remote Western Australia, and made the journey to Melbourne where he was introduced to the artworks of Misha at a gallery opening. A creative partnership was formed: Misha's projections and paintings combined with Nic's productions to form intricate installations and hyperkinetic live shows. Expressionism and rave, internet art and drum n bass, regional dance music styles and Australian gothic ideas all intersect. The results are personal, universal, beautiful, brutal, expansive and immersive. Nullarbor 1988-1989 is the debut full length from friendships, and represents an immense territory to be lost and found in, a journey that rewards the intrepid.
Dot Dash/Remote Control/Captured Tracks
Teeth & Tongue is the recording project of Jess Cornelius and her band, and "Give Up On Your Health" is the title of their fourth record. It's also possibly a wry warning to those who would commit themselves wholeheartedly to creative pursuits: they can quickly become all-consuming. The risks may be great but so are the rewards, a fact reflected perfectly in this adventurous and accomplished album of smart, sophisticated pop. In comparison to earlier Teeth & Tongue records there's a noticable shift toward dance music tempos and electronic production techniques, new facets of Jess Cornelius' songwriting and arranging skills.
Efficient Space/Noise In My Head
In a time of greater access to more music than ever before, Midnite Spares delivers a rare degree of surprise and discovery. Andras and Instant Peterson are Triple R broadcasters and renowned music minds with highly attuned detective skills and a heightened sense of curiosity. They've spent countless hours searching stores, discount bins, personal record collections and Triple R's own vinyl library to uncover the obscure and compelling musical moments on offer here. Midnite Spares is the second release on Efficient Space, fast becoming a premier go-to label for unearthed archival gems. Expect eveything from new wave, post-punk, dance, soundtrack cues, early electronic pop, funk and strange dub experiments.
Bad Seed Ltd
The release of NickCave and the Bad Seed’s new album Skeleton Tree is accompanied by a feature-length film, 'One More Time With Feeling'. Initially intended to capture a series of live performances , it became a document of the time in which the album took shape, one filled with unspeakable grief and a struggle to cope with great personal loss. The songs on Skeleton Tree are visceral missives of all that can’t be said or understood, communicating both profound suffering and love. The arrangements are sombre and deeply moving: NickCave’s lyrics are direct and oblique, literary and literal, haunting and heartrending and beautiful.
'Band of the Future' is the fourth record from Geelong's new wave and post punk apostles Ausmuteants. It's a subtly humourous title for a group less than interested in trend forecasting or placing their music on any broader timeline. There may be a few sonic references to past pioneering synth punks like Devo in the recordings, but Ausmuteants are resolutely writing their own history. 'Band Of The Future' is a thrilling new chapter filled with sharp keyboard melodies, energetic electric guitar lines and subtly subversive lyricism.
'My Woman' is Angel Olsen's third album, a masterclass in songcraft that captivates from the first to last moment. A cinematic tone is introduced from the start, 'Intern' begins with an arresting synth and mellotron melody that floats alongside Angel Olsen’s vocals. It's a powerful, stark introduction to a record that covers a range of musical terrain: country blues and folk through to anthemic jukebox rock and garage pop. Over the course of the richly detailed record Angel Olsen explores themes of identity, memory, connections made and lost or missed.
Thank-you so much for all your support!
Thank-you so much for all your support!
'A Place Called Bad' is a four-disc box set encompassing the iconic Perth band's complete studio work, live recordings, and an unreleased set recorded in Adelaide's UniBar, alongside images and artefacts. It's an impressive portrait of a group whose influence reached across continents and decades. For existing fans 'A Place Called Bad' is a timely, well-presented reminder of their impact and output. For new listeners it's a compelling introduction to The Scientists' pioneering punk, swamp rock and crisp post punk sounds.
Kathleen Hanna is a pioneering artist, central to the development and evolution of the riot grrrl movement: her early bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre were powerful agents for change, combining feminism, politics and punk styles.
'Hit Reset' is the second album in the recent revival of Kathleen's recording project The Julie Ruin. It finds a perfect balance between the danceable synth sounds of Le Tigre and the incendiary riffs and raw punk of Bikini Kill. Traces of'60s garage and '90s rock are also found in the mix, with a moving ballad to close the record. Kathleen Hanna's lyrics are as poignant and pointed as ever, covering a wide range of territory including personal experiences and family relationships.
The Lost & Lonesome Recording Co.
There's a question in the title, an invitation to discover. And there are many revelations to be found within. The new record from Tim Richmond and his talented ensemble is a tapestry of musical traditions; a synthesis of swirling psychedelic songcraft, experimental folk melodies and hip-hop-infused funk grooves. Electronic elements underlie the acoustic. The strange meets the familiar. By the end of the album we may have some answers to the question of What's in the Middle, but each listen reveals more secrets, rewards, and surprises.
'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."