'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.
"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.
Cool Death Records
Tyrannmen are among the leaders of a new movement in punk music: for years their live shows have combined classic rock and roll with renegade R&B soul. The self-titled debut on influential Cool Death records captures this controlled chaos and frenetic energy, a critical showcase of their skill as songwriters and performers.
Blackstar is the twenty-sixth - and sadly final - album from the pioneering and ever-evolving English artist and musician David Bowie. His loss is keenly and profoundly felt: this record another testament to the uncompromising and unique vision Mr Bowie evidenced throughout a singular career. The moving arrangements and meditative lyrics are especially impactful and draw from traditions of abstract jazz and fusion. David Bowie's interest in recent recordings from Kendrick Lamar, Boards of Canada and Death Grips also inspired some of the ideas he explores on this record.
Enjoy the Holidays!
After another incredible year of music, Triple R's Album Of The Week will be back in 2016.
Flightless Records/Remote Control
There aren't many bands with the imaginative scope, range and impressive work ethic of prolific Geelong band King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. In a short amount of time the group have now produced seven albums and two EPs, each a unique constellation of sound in universe of psychedelic music. They even managed to get themselves nominated for a a Best Jazz album in the ARIAs for their last opus "Quarters". For this album King Gizzard recorded using only acoustic instruments: guitars, flute, double bass, fiddle, harmonica, drum kit, clarinet amongst others. The results are as brilliant as ever, a blend of gentle psych pop with jazz and folk inflections.
Bedroom Suck Records
Terrible Truths are premier purveyors of modern post-punk and minimalist rhythmic rock. Beginning life in Adelaide, the now Melbourne-based three piece of Stacey Wilson, Rani Rose and Joe Alexander have spent the past few years refining their talents and songcraft to become one of the more thrilling live bands around. Recordings have been limited to the rare single or compilation track, which makes this debut album all the more anticipated. Existing favourites are combined with essential new material in this concise, powerful, playful collection.
"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.