Triple R Soundscape: 9 November 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 9 November 2020.

Black Rock Band - Identity (Wantok Musik)**Album of the Week

Identity is the latest album from Black Rock Band of Jabiru in West Arnhem land. The wide-ranging record reflects the strength and breadth of the band's songwriting: from the blues and country-infused single "If It Was Me", to the string-led ballardry of "Moriah", the reggae driven grooves of "Yibengwarrbawon", and the blistering rock riffs of "Highway 21". “We created the album to encourage First Nations people around Australia and the world to stick together. This is building a bridge between the two different worlds that we live in.”

Emma Donovan & The Putbacks - Crossover (Hopestreet Recordings)

The powerhouse indigenous soul vocalist Emma Donnavan reconnects with the Melbourne funk quintet The Putbacks for their second collaborative outing following 2014s acclaimed LP Dawn. Donovan connects the threads of her childhood and adult life on Crossover, with her mother and grandmother looming especially large in the tapestry. Her personal and powerful lyricism is composed against the Putbacks masterfully sharp, dynamic and funky rhythms.

Various Artists - Deadly Hearts - Walking Together (ABC Music/Universal)

ABC Music and Universal Music Australia team up to present the third instalment of the Deadly Hearts - Walking Together series ahead of NAIDOC week and AUSMUSIC month. This year, young indigenous artists were called on to cover a song which has inspired them or been important to their identity. The result is a new generation of talent celebrating music, culture and identity from sounds as diverse as Mitch Tambo’s Gamilaraay language electro-pop taking on Vanessa Amorosi’s ‘Absolutely Everybody’ to Southeast Desert Metal covering the Midnight Oil classic ‘Beds are Burning.’

Loma - Don't Shy Away (Sub Pop / Inertia)

Loma is a collaborative project formed in 2016 between singer and instrumentalist Emily Cross, musician and recording engineer Dan Duszynski, and Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg. After nearly folding after their first release, they were encouraged to reconvene in 2019 following high praise from Brian Eno to record Don’t Shy Away at Duszynski’s rural Texas home. The band write by consensus, with Meiburg comparing their process to a ouija board: “in Loma, nobody wears the crown, so we have to trust each other - and we end up in places none of us would have gone on our own.” The new album is a gently powerful meditation on solitude, impermanence and finding hope in desperation.

Various Artists - Brazen Hussies (Chapter Music)

In conjunction with a new documentary by the same name abut the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia in the 60s, 70s and 80s, Chapter Music release Brazen Hussies; a short history of politically inspired music for Australian women, by Australian women; unleashed at political rallies, dances or on feminist radio in that error of upheavel and change. Salvaged from old tapes and records, the record surveys the rich, vibrant and often political sounds coming from bands like Toxic Shock, Pip Porter, Hens Teeth and Stray Dags.

Tia Gostelow - CHRYSALIS (Footstomp Music)

The Mackay born indie-folk singer releases her second album at the age of 20, following a flurry of awards, releases, international touring and big name support slots in her teenage years. Having already built a mature and unique folk sound, CHRYSALIS finds Gostelow boldly adding lush 80s hooks, big drum beats and slick synthesizers to her palette. The album, Gostelow has said, is a deeply personal response to the isolation and sacrifices she’s made for music.When I was living by myself in a big city it really took a toll on me mentally. I feel like dealing with these emotions and putting them into these songs helped me overcome those feelings.”

Various Artists - At Clouds Length (WAT)

At Clouds Length came about through a challenge to artists on Melbourne’s WAT Recordings roster to find new and innovative ways to cross pollinate during lockdown. Titled as an ode to the use of cloud storage for m musical collaboration, the record celebrates “humanity’s desire for deeper meaning and connection” through nine new compositions with pairings between the likes of 30/70 and Alex Albrecht; Fantastic Man, Adam Halliwell and Edd Fischer; Big Yawn and Sleep D; and many others.

Zeal and Ardor - Wake of a Nation (Zeal & Ardor)

The acclaimed Swiss-American metal act release their third collection with Wake of a Nation. While the band has long engaged with elements of social and political oppression in their work, Wake of a Nation finds them shifting their focus to contemporary political targets, most notably racially-motivated police brutality, as made evident by the inverted cross on the album’s artwork, which, on closer inspection, is two inverted police batons. Over five songs, the band, led by frontman Manuel Gagneux, juxtaposes unrelenting metal riffs and shrieks against choral singing, gentle piano and soulful vibes with jarring effect. The takeaway from Wake of a Nation is the anguish, rage and sheer helplessness of an artist looking at uncomfortable truths of their nation directly in the face.

William Tyler - 'New Vanitas' EP (Merge)

The Nashville guitarist and composer William Tyler takes the concept of the vanita - Medieval illustrations which outline the impermanence of earthly things via juxtaposition of macabre symbols of death with the natural world - as the conceptual vehicle for his new EP. “These paintings force us to bear witness to the contrasts of life, death, and impermanence, and if 2020 has taught be about anything, it is this concept of “bearing witness” both on a personal and political level.

Obscura Hail - 'Siren' EP (Dot Dash / Remote Control)

Siren is the latest EP from the Melbourne-via-Wollongong rock trio, led by musician Sean Conran. The band have stated that Obscura Hail is primarily a vessel for the preservation of memory and lived experience, amassed via regular late-night home studio recording sessions. “Obscura Hail began as a routine of externalising memory for the sake of preservation due to a fear of Alzheimer’s. It was brought on by receiving my first amalgam filling; to carry on a legacy, to calcify meaning and importance of my lived experience, should I need reminding.”