Triple R Soundscape: 16 March 2020

Soundscape is a weekly look at local and international releases making an impression on our musical radar. The list offers a cross-section of EPs and albums arriving at the station.

We have been busily scouring the Soundscape! Check out some of our favourite finds for this week 16 March 2020

U.S. Girls - Heavy Light (4AD / Remote Control) **Album of the Week

The seventh album from Toronto based musician, songwriter and producer Megan Remy is her most collaborative yet, employing the talents of 20 session musicians and the song-writing chops of her friends and collaborators Basia Bulat and Rich Morel. The product is one of her strongest releases yet - a clear-eyed reflection on childhood, the environment and intergenerational pain imparted through the sounds of orchestral percussion, gospel soul, disco funk and soaring vocal performances.

Jay Electronica - A Written Testimony (ROC Nation)

A Written Testimony is an unlikely quantity: a debut album from a critically acclaimed 43 year old rapper who has constantly talked about his distaste for the album format while occasionally lighting up the internet with ferocious mixtapes and singles (see Exhibit C). Jay Z has his fingers all over A Written Testimony, appearing on most songs and releasing it through his Roc Nation Label. However, the LP remains unmistakably Jay Elec - exploring his reluctance to make an album and venture into the spotlight, while proving his dexterity, gravity and mastery at every turn.

Rowland S. Howard - Teenage Snuff Film + Pop Crimes (Remastered Reissues)

Two classics from the legendary Melbourne songwriter and member of noise band The Birthday Party are remastered and reissued for the new decade. Teenage Snuff Film, Howard’s beloved debut solo release, came out to great local and international acclaim in 1999 following a period of recording with Mick Harvey, Lindsay Gravina and Beast of Bourbon’s Brian Hooper. The record cemented Howard’s talent for soul-baring, dark, minimalist guitar music. A decade later, and just months before his early death from liver cancer, Rowland S. Howard released the equally acclaimed Pop Crimes, a skewed, and at times perverse mirror on pop culture, driven by shimmering synths and his unmistakable guitar/vocal interplay.

Nazar - Guerrilla (Hyperdub Records)

The Belgium born artist, and son of members of the long running Angolan rebel army UNITA, uses his new album to reckon with the long running civil war of his parent’s home-country from multiple perspectives. Throughout ‘Guerilla’ the boot-stomping beat, helicopter whirls and AK gun-cracks drop the listener into the intensity, anxiety and fear of armed conflict, while threatening vocal samples loop through the chaos. There are tender moments too, with times reflecting on Nazar’s mother’s story, or the sounds of the Angolan landscape filtering through, with the producer ultimately penning Guerilla as a memorial to his parents and to Angola itself.

Porridge Radio - Every Bad (Secretly Canadian / Inertia)

The second album from the Brighton based four-piece sees them evolve from their DIY roots into one of the more interesting and self-confident rock bands on the scene, already being vaulted for the likes of the Mercury Prize. Every Bad’s appeal is in a large measure a product of the vocal performance of front-woman Dana Margolin, who, with her ferocity, dynamics and raw vulnerability, channels Rid Of Me era PJ Harvey and early Karen O.

Mystery Guest - Octagon City (Tenth Court Records)

Mystery Guest is the Melbourne based project of Adelaide expats Caitlyn Lesiuk (Peak Twins & Elizabeth) and Patrick Telfer (Bitch Prefect, Old Mate, Peak Twins). Octagon City is a slickly produced, rhythmic synth-pop album, with layered tuned and untuned percussion, plodding bass lines and Lesiuk’s sing/speak to conjure a fantasic, geometric, future-city of dance, love and redemption.

Four Tet - Sixteen Oceans (Text Records)

Veteren producer Kieran Hebden’s 10th LP under the Four-Tet moniker is one of his most aesthetically beautiful yet, drawing out over 16 tracks irresistibly pretty sounds like an Ellie Goulding vocal line, classical Spanish guitar samples, and baroque harpsichord flourishes, while maintaining his time-honed, consummate beat-making skills throughout.

Viagra Boys - Common Sense EP (YEAR0001 / Twntythree)

Following on from the surprise success of their 2017 debut Street View - an uncommonly cathartic and theatrical post-punk combustion - the Swedish 5-piece debut a more atmospheric and ambling direction, pulling out synths and harsh truths for their new four-track EP.

Stephen Malkmus - Traditional Techniques (Matador / Remote Control)

The Pavement frontman drops an unexpectedly accomplished folk album following the string embellishments and vocal manipulations of 2018s Sparkle Hard and 2019s laptop driven ode to early electronic music Groove Denied. WithTraditional Techniques Malkmus takes another hard left turn, utilising eastern string instruments as the sonic centre of his new sound, recalling 70s era psych-folk, but with none of the faux-mysticism and earnestness that era of music connotes.

Bell Towers - Junior Mix (Public Possession)

Following nearly a decade of releasing club records, the Australian producer releases a pop record about being in the club, integrating new vocal-heavy, chorus focused sounds. Of the debut 10 track LP, Bell Towers has said that Junior Mix is an “Ode to escaping into (and out of) the emotional pits of dance floors – about finding a place in one night’s fantasy¹”.