Triple R Soundscape: 3 August 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 3 August 2020.
Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death (Partisan Records/Liberator Music)**Album of the Week
The Dublin group return with A Hero’s Death on the heels of their universally lauded 2019 debut Dogrel. Where their debut was deeply grounded in the poetry and revolution of Dublin, their second album is more of a reflection of the band's global trajectory over the past 12 months. That energy is harnessed into bold and uncompromising songs, which the band have cited as an experiment in authenticity: “If it ever falls short of being authentic, that’s it - we’ll kill it dead.” For the second time in as many years, they’ve exceeded their own high standards.
(Liv).e - Couldn't Wait To Tell You (Independent)
Like many of the most compelling records of the last decade, Couldn’t Wait to Tell You shuffles around the edges of rap, soul, R&B and electronica without fully committing itself to genre. The LA based producer has said of her debut: “It’s like a diary - I don’t feel there’s one focus. It’s just an album of general entries, with some different perspectives.” These differing perspectives overlap in the form of vocals and samples, like fictional characters vying for centre stage within the artist’s own consciousness.
Hooper Crescent - Object Permanence (Spoilsport Records)
Object Permanence is the debut full length by the Melbourne outfit, following the release of their self-titled EP cassette in 2018 and the addition of Ash Stirling (Hideous Towns, Spit and Spherical) and Gemma Helms (No Sister, Poppogene, Mares, Astral Skulls) to founding members Sam Cummins, Kate Allan and Ian Ngo. Recorded in a vacant home in the town of Tolleen in northern Victoria, the album channels touchstones from underground musical history; A Certain Ratio, Pylon, Cate Le Bon and Omni, while retaining a sound very much in the lineage of their current time and place. Of the album title, the band has said “Object Permanence became a suitable title because there are a lot of themes throughout the album that allude to the memory of people, objects and events that may have seemed transient at the time, but have continued to have an effect on our lives and have manifested in these songs."
Becky and the Birds - 'Trasslig' EP (4AD/Remote Control)
The word Trasslig, translated from Swedish, means “entangled, messy, intricate.” The new EP from the Swedish songwriter Thea Gustaffson is an outlet for songs about complex women, saying that “people are scared of women who could be both powerful and vulnerable at the same time… but it’s okay to be trasslig, to be all the parts of yourself.” Drawing on the jazz and soul records of her youth, these tracks are stylishly and carefully produced, with the themes of empowerment driven home by Gustaffson’s acrobatic, piercing falsetto.
Makaya McCraven - Universal Beings E&F Sides (International Anthem)
The jazz drummer and producer’s hypnotic 2018 double album announced him on the scene as a major artist to critical acclaim. Culled from a year’s worth of recordings of live performances and sessions, the album was layered and spliced together to create something wholly new and deeply collaborative, with a long list of features from new jazz hubs around the globe. The new E&F Sides collection shows just how productive that process was, with the 14 new tracks collected from the original sessions and prepared and produced as a soundtrack to a new documentary film directed by Mark Pallman on the process and history leading up to the release of the original Universal Beings album.
Suzie Stapleton - We Are The Plague (Negative Prophet Records)
On her debut release, Suzie Stapleton announces herself as a rare artist who arrives with a sound both fully realised and uniquely her own. Channelling the primal spirit of blues and gospel via raw, gothic guitar rock, these are challenging, apocalyptic songs, with Stapleton’s rich vocals fiercely dismantling the systems which have set up a generation for its own imminent demise. “When I began writing this record, I was thinking a lot about all the challenges we face....the degradation of the environment, the growing chasm between rich and poor, the petty politics ruling and failing us all.”
PJ Harvey - Dry: Demos (Island)
Available for the first time since 1992 are 11 demos which would go on to form the backbone of PJ Harvey’s debut album Dry. The demos, recorded solo after she transplanted from her upbringing on her family’s farm to art school in Somerset, lack the full instrumentation and tight production of the eventual studio recordings. With Polly Jean solo on guitar and vocals, the songs have a much more direct link to the American blues artists her parents loved during her childhood than the alternative, post-grunge UK scene she would become a central figure in. The demos exhibit Harvey’s own crude vulnerability and her talent for magnifying it through the lens of characters and metaphors, even at the foundation of her career.
Bélver Yin - Luz Bel (Efficient Space)
Remastered and released by Melbourne’s Efficient Space record label is the overlooked debut by Bélver Yin, the Spanish alt-pop band formed in Salamanca by the self-taught musicians Pedro Ortega Sánchez and José María Martín. The soul-mining, forlorn instrumentals and ethereal romanticism quickly fell into obscurity following its release, fueling a mythology of a band known, until now, only to the initiated.
J Lloyd - Kosmos Mixtape (Positive Feedback)
The 25 track Kosmos mixtape is the debut full-length release from one half of the London-based production duo Jungle. Written, recorded and produced over three days during London’s hard lockdown in April, the project is an exercise in creative flow, with tracks flawlessly and naturally developing into each other like an introspective stream of consciousness.
Romare - Home (Ninja Tune/Inertia)
Over three albums on Ninja Tune, Romare has revealed himself as a producer whose House music sits comfortably both in the club and in more relaxed environments. As alluded to in the title, his newest record is no exception, with tracks ranging from the euphoric, uplifting moments on ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Heaven’ through to more meditative and melancholy moments on ‘Deliverance’. “For me, the sweet point in music is when happy and sad come together” comments Fairhurst, “when they meet in the middle, that’s what I try to create”.