Melbourne four-piece Mildlife began making music years ago, bonding through a shared love for exploratory art, of all forms. Listeining to Phase it's clear the friends are keen music students who take inspiration from pioneers in all genres.Their debut album LP is the result of dedicated work and tireless experimenting, fusing traditions of jazz, disco, psychedelic, rock, electronic and more to produce a wholy original hybrid. First single 'The Magnificent Moon' is truly out of this world, a perfect launching point for the spacious grooves, cosmic beats and interstellar sounds that follow.
"You shoulda seen his book collection/ It was all ‘how to socialise and how to make friends’/ Yeah I guess we both got our problems /And areas to improve / And I know one of mine is to go a night without sympathising with you"- How To Socialise and Make Friends by Camp Cope
"How to socialise and Make Friends" is the second album from Camp Cope, the Melbourne trio comprising guitarist and songwriter Georgia Maq, bass player Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and drummer Sarah Thompson. It begins with "The Opener", an anthemic takedown of double standards and sexism embedded in the music industry. As Georgia Maq expressed to Pitchfork in an interview: "It was so cathartic to release that and be validated by people being like, “This is my experience!” I needed to do it, especially after the last year and a half. Since the last record was released, we just got criticized about everything." The catharsis is mirrored in the music - punk and folk infused arrangements that sweep, soar and strike with profound impact. These new songs are personal, filled with keenly observed and deeply felt experience. And they are universal, with the strength to connect and empower.
All Nerve is the first studio album in a decade from iconic rock outfit The Breeders. It's also the first time Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson have been reunited on record since 1993's Last Splash (a high water mark of the era that remains an influential release). First single Wait in the Car begins with the playful cry "Good Morning!" and it's clear The Breeders are back full of energy and in complete command of their powers. Layered harmonies, crunching rock riffs, energising noise andand potent lyrics that challenge, uplift, and take down their targets. All Nerve also includes contributions from friends and collaborators Courtney Barnett and Steve Albini.
Her is the second album from Melbourne four-piece Totally Mild, led by Elizabeth Mitchell. Their debut Down Time offered a rich combination of vivid melodies, crisp percussion, hazy textures and beautiful harmonies. These new songs also captivate, showcasing an even greater range of blues-inflected rock, orchestral synth, piano ballads and atmospheric pop styles. Elizabeth Mitchell provides great insight in an album statement, saying "Her is a record of failure and victory, new desire, stale romance, queer domesticity and what comes when the party is over. I was torn between a new domestic life and the impulse to tear it all away with bad choices. I fell in love, but I wrestled for independence. I was always trying to prove that I didn’t need anyone; my wife, my friends, my band. Her is a document of a woman struggling with the idea of potential. We are told that we could be limitless, but we wrestle with unseen personal and structural walls." In processing these tensions and reconciling these conflicts, Her becomes a transcendent document of discovery, reflection and love.
Dero Arcade/Super Duper
Last year Divide and Dissolve arrived with an earth-shaking debut called 'Basic'. Heavy, complex, and compelling, it was the work of Melbourne duo Takiaya Reed and Sylvie Nehill, performing on saxophone, guitar and drums with live effects. The message behind it was clear: these are songs designed to decolonise, dismantle white supremacy, and empower people of colour and indigenous people around the world.Less than a year later, Divide and Dissolves's second album 'Abomination' arrives with a growing sense of urgency and intensity. The record is largely instrumental, with vocal contributions on Reversal from Minori Sanchiz-Fung. Each piece flows seamlessly to the next, even as the moods, textures, melodies and rhythms shift, collapse, and reconfigure. 'Abomination' draws inspiration from the band's ancestors and from the nautral world. Songs vibrate with an elemental force, evoking stillness and radical change. To listen to the album, carefully, is to be both transported and transformed.
Los Angeles, October 31, 2016. After a week of frustrated songwriting attempts, Marlon Williams steps out alone to watch a scary film: Nosferatu, a favourite of his, with live score by LA Opera.In the mood for mischief Marlon finds a convincing vampire costume, races to the screening but arrives minutes too late. The film has begun, and failing to find a seat Marlon quietly reclines in the staircase. When the lights are finally raised Marlon quickly slips away, followed by whispers and astonished stares. Marlon remembers it as a pivotal moment, the start of a new chapter in his life and one referenced in non-album single Vampire Again. It's also perhaps a symbolic gesture by a prodigy wholly committed to his craft. Humour, pathos, intrigue and poignancy are everywhere on this second album. Songs span the two years he's been away, touring with artists like Bruce Springsteen, and mirror some of the self-reflection that follows in the wake of break up. Former partner Aldous Harding appears on the stunning duet Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore. The soulful songs all deal in heartbreak and hope. They're haunting and unforgettable, like a half-glimpsed vampire seen leaving a film screening on Halloween.
Ben Montero is a musician and an artist. Born in Melbourne, now based in Athens, he's also known as an explorer. His music and drawings are like maps revealing vivid scenes of the everyday and uncharted parts of the mind. New album 'Performer' finds the artist in full flight, piloting listeners in his personal airline through time and space. Seatbelt signs are off as Montero glides through clouds of 70's prog, soft-psych pop and glam pomp sounds.
Khruangbin is the Texan trio of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums. Their records reflect a passionate, shared love of psychedelic soul, R&B, dub and blues traditions, all combined in fresh ways. Devoted crate diggers, the band's debut 'The Universe Smiles Upon you' was especially inspired by instrumental and emotive elements of the Thai Molam musical tradition, discovered through cassettes, dj mixes and dedicated blogs. 'Con Todo El Mundo' expands upon this further. It reflects some of the sound and and spirit of Middle Eastern, Caribbean, and South American soul and scenes, present and past, and seeks connections and exchanges across time and space. The result is a globally minded LP that sounds otherworldly: a perfect soundtrack for flights of the imagination and journeys of discovery.
FatCat Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia
'The Official Body' is Shopping's third album, following the release of 'Consumer Complaints' in 2013, and their 2015 FatCat Records debut 'Why Choose'.
Guitarist Rachel Aggs explains some of the new song lyrics on their bandcamp site: 'Suddenly Gone' for example refers to "feeling used and undervalued as a queer and/or person of colour making music or art." 'Wild Child' views the distance between the image and reality of our idols: “I was specifically thinking about the way some drag queens do this really well,” explains Aggs; “It's about projecting the persona of someone who is always free, always partying and you can't imagine them ever worrying about their work rota or buying cereal. It's important to see through it, to know it's fake but at the same time, it's so intriguing and seductive. I think this anarchic, flamboyant spirit is really important to queer culture.” The social and political changes faced in a post-Brexit Britain are also represented in the music and lyrics.
As always Shopping deliver anthemic post-punk dance anthems, but there are noticeable shifts and changes in the sound here. For the first time Shopping worked with legendary UK artist and producer Edwyn Collins, and the core elements of drums, vocals and guitar are extended with electronics and synths.
Before recording drummer Andrew Milk relocated to Glasgow, and their usual rehearsal and writing space Power Lunches (a hub for the city’s DIY scene) closed down, creating pressures that are perhaps reflected in the urgency and energy of the songs.
Mother is the third in a trilogy of albums exploring and redrawing the Cretan folk tradition. In this memorable conclusion, George Xylouris and Jim White again combine their names and their formidable skills to craft immense and immersive musical landscapes.
Xylouris is a member of one of Greece's most celebrated musical families, and certain passages on Mother evoke ageless folk traditions; atmospheric lullabies and love songs set to Cretan lute melodies. His storytelling style is matched by the expressive percussive prowess of White, whose own talents are well known from work with Dirty Three, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Will Oldham and others. The record balances playfulness with complexity, and plenty of surprise. Songs shift and evolve, responding to the improvised interplay of the two masters at work.
Enjoy the Holidays!
After another incredible year of music, Triple R's Album Of The Week will be back in 2018.
Wondercore Island/Good Manners
Grant Gronewald is an exceptional artist: a prolific and profound music maker, illustrator and zine creator.
With long-time friend Oscar Key-Sung, Grant formed Brothers Hand Mirror and Lossless, two projects known for artful and abrasive beats and lyrics. As HTMLflowers Grant has made many solo tracks over the years, and 'Chrome Halo' is his debut full-length under the name. It's a powerful reflection of Grant's craft and life, with subjects ranging from love, friendship, sacrifice, and isolation - all examined with piercing insight. His experiences living with chronic illness are referenced in the title of the album, an image of the metallic illumination found in hospitals where Grant spends an increasing amount of time.
Chrome Halo is a transfixing record, rich in detail. Grant has written about each track in a feature for Sydney's FBi radio: in the song Sleep Good for instance, Grant sings "I can see the sun upon your back", a Kazakh phrase which means "thank you for being you, I am here because of your help." Written for a specific someone, it also signals a greater interconnectedness at the heart of the album, an honouring of relationships. Significantly, contributions to the record arrive from close friends and collaborators Oscar Key Sung, Becky Sui Zhen, Marcus Whale, Banoffee and Felicity Yang.
The story of Melbourne's Amyl and the Sniffers begins when friends and former housemates Amy Louise Taylor, Bryce Wilson, Dec Martens and Gus Romer wrote and released a collection of songs in less than twelve hours. You can hear the urgency and energy in the tracks. 'Giddy Up' EP was followed several months later by Big Attraction, a punk-fueled riot of instant classic anthems. The band are described as "possessed by the spirit of seventies Australian rock" and there's a clear love of local music history in their sound. But equally there's an independent and original voice that commands attention. This full-length combines both EPs in one place, offering a powerful reminder of their prowess to existing fans, or an unforgettable introduction to new listeners.
"Rest" is deeply reflective and partly autobiographical, a record of Charlotte Gainsbourg's extraordinary life. There are accounts of family history, of grief and loss, and songs on love, art, discovery, pleasure and new experiences. There's a range of fresh sounds to be found too; tracks draw on synth pop, hip hop, French electro, disco, cinema soundtracks and new wave. Collaborators featured on the record include SebastiAn, Paul McCartney, Owen Pallett, Connan Mockasin, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk.
Spunk! Records/Caroline Australia
Fresh ideas power the circuitry of Machine Translations' J Walker. His ninth album 'Oh' is electric with new arrangements, instruments and recording styles.This dynamism also drives his production for other artists - these past few years alone have seen him work alongside Jen Cloher, Paul Kelly, Tiny Ruins and Jess Ribeiro, not to mention TV and film soundtrack credits. Each project offers opportunities to explore - J Walker recently told Dave Graney about the purchase of a tape machine, how he's found new inspiration capturing live performances directly. 'Oh' reflects this spontaneity, capturing the strengths and energy of his band alongside the ever-present studio magic and ingenious songwriting.
Rhythm Section International
30/70 have been called soul superheroes by Triple R's own Chris Gill: "These kids walk around with invisible capes on". We can't confirm the capes but the superhero part is clear when you see them play and hear the songs. And if you're interested in origin stories, it's there in the name. 3070. Postcode for Northcote where friends and musicians Allysha Joy, Ziggy Henry, Thhomas & Jarrod first combined forces. From a collective, to a community, to a global movement, 30/70 have been on a strong path from the start. Their music represents Melbourne's dynamic soul scenes and new beat schools but also draws on a world of influences; spiritual jazz, hip hop, blues and funk traditions. "Elevate" is the title, but also the manifesto as 30/70 use melodic, rhythmic and lyrical powers to inspire and uplift.
To hear Sharon Jones sing is to be awed and moved by an exceptional talent. Her gifts were shared across an extraordinary life and career, documented in part by Barbara Kopple's film "Miss Sharon Jones!" The exclamation point at the end was always an understatement, hinting at Sharon Jones' powerful, generous spirit. During the film Sharon Jones is moved to tears in an interview, remembering her late Mother. Earlier in the same scene we hear Ms Jones sing a gospel hymn, "May the Work I've Done speak for me" - a song that reflects on the lasting meaning of our contributions in life. Sharon Jones sadly passed away soon after the release of the film, and we're fortunate for the extraordinary legacy she leaves us. Soul of a Woman is the stunning final album Sharon recorded with her band the Dap-Kings. It's purposely divided into separate halves: the first showcases Sharon Jones' grittier, bluesier material, including her anthemic Matter of Time (“It’s a matter of time before justice will come”) and the second provides an orchestral setting for Sharon Jones' soaring vocals.
Big Dada/Thinking Loud
Sampa The Great is truly a masterful artist. Her deep knowledge, passion and skill shines through each release. First was "The Great Mixtape", a powerful introduction filled with poetry, soul, jazz, funk and blues. Each song felt like a thrilling discovery, revealing the craft of a dedicated student and pioneering spirit. So it is again with "Birds and the BEE9", another stunning collection of work that showcases the unique vision of Sampa The Great. The record explores themes of identity, politics, pain, growth and healing, spanning sounds of neo-soul, hip hop, gospel, and spiritual jazz. Production and other contributions arrive from progressive peers Sensible J, REMI, Alejandro ‘JJ’ Abapo, Kwes Darko, Syreneyiscreamy, Mwanje Tembo and Zaachariaha.
The visionary Fever Ray revealed her second album Plunge last week. After eight years of waiting, the sudden surprise release felt like a jolt. Alongside the album was an essay by artist and writer Hannah Black, titled 'The decision to fall is harder than the fall itself'. Reading it feels like a freefall; an exhilarating blur of shifting truths and contradictions with lines on music and love and gender and politics and work and violence and power and surrender and repetition that challenge us to keep pace. The impact of one idea is felt just as the next is hitting, and again and again as you descend the text, So it is with Plunge - a thrilling dive into the deep creativity of Karin Dreijer, with songs exploring our instinctive drives and conscious lives.. The musical arrangements are equally bold, filled with experimental electronic and adventurous club styles. Featured on the record are contributions from former collaborators Peder Mannerfelt and Johannes Berglund, and Deena Abdelwahed, Tami T, and NÍDIA.
XL Recordings/Remote Control
The OOZ is an evocative title for an elusive record, the second by London's King Krule (aka Archy Marshall). It refers to the grit, gunk, and flowing unconscious forces we might prefer to ignore, but which ultimately makes us who we are. Archy describes them all with a poetry that slides between beauty and brutality. A spoken-word feature - sung once in English and once in Spanish - highlights how closely romance and despair can lie: "Me and you against this city of parasites/Parasite, paradise, parasite, paradise." Over the 19 tracks, musical boundaries also shift and lines dissolve between dub, blues, bossa, beats, punk rock, trip hop and torch song. Sometimes Marshall's distinct London vocals are foregrounded, full of urgency and unnerving imagery. Sometimes his voice surfaces like a faint sonar signal in a sea of disquiet. And occasionally it haunts the music with its absence during atmospheric interludes.
Milk! Records/Matador Records/Remote Control
"Lotta Sea Lice" is the collaborative album from Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile: two exceptional musicians and great friends who have crafted an album that captures those talents and dynamics perfectly. It's the result of eight days in the studio, spread over almost 15 months in between other touring and recording commitments. The first introduction was 'Over Everything', an instant hit of blues riffs, unhurried rock rhythms and playful poetry traded back and forth. Second single 'Continental Breakfast' was also immediate in appeal - a country folk song seemingly effortless in its ability to evoke deep friendship over time and distance. The entire LP reflects the unique skills of all artists involved, offering a generous catalogue of creative insights in the process. Further friends are enlisted, Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint, Mick Turner and Jim White of the Dirty Three, and Mick Harvey among them. Alongside the original works are a few covers: Courtney's compelling interpretation of Kurt's 'Peepin’ Tomboy', a stunning version of Jen Cloher's 'Fear is like A Forest', and a harmonious take on Belly’s '90s underground hit 'Untogether'.
Rapsody’s debut album featured a song called Destiny, where she expressed a wish to meet hip hop icon Jay Z and “just play a rhyme for him”. Four years later Rapsody was signed to his label Roc Nation, and five years later we have "Laila’s Wisdom". You could say it was destiny. North Carolina's Marlanna Evans is a master MC with an extraordinary catalogue of work. Rapsody was famously the only artist invited to contribute a verse on "To Pimp A Butterfly" by Kendrick Lamar. And now Kendrick returns the favour on Rapsody's track Power. Other guests include Gwen Bunn, Anderson .Paak, Black Thought and Busta Rhymes, who has described the album as the best he’s heard in ten years or more. The LP is dedicated to Rapsody’s maternal grandmother, a great influence and provider of counsel, including the advice to give people flowers while they can still smell them. There’s plenty more wisdom to be found on "Laila’s Wisdom" - an instant classic filled with powerful storytelling, inventive beats, and reflections on social, political and personal experiences.
Relatives in Descent is the fourth album from acclaimed Detroit band Protomartyr, and arguably their most powerful record to date. Singer Joe Casey invokes the spirits of great rock orators and agitators as he reflects on the state of a disunited America. And his words echo in the dissonant guitar lines and tense rock rhythms of the tracks. This masterfully wrought LP features production by Sonny DiPerri who’s also known for his works with other restlessly creative bands like Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors.
Moses Sumney taught himself to play guitar while studying creative writing at UCLA. Over the years he crafted a unique style of music making that draws from soul, folk, jazz, making songs that sound both intimate and immense in scale. Moses has toured widely. and collaborated with artists like James Blake, Daedelus, Sophia Brous and The Cinematic Orchestra. There are live videos if you search, including one for MOOG where he notes “studio versions of songs sometimes feel stagnant to me, like a polaroid snapshot of a moving ship. Live versions of songs get to be more amorphous, constantly taking and shaking off shape, moving like a film.”On this record though, Sumney and his collaborators succeed in capturing that motion - songs shake, stir, submerge, soar and soothe.
If you're in the game of guessing what Ariel Pink will do next, you'd be quite used to getting things wrong. The cult LA artist is a master of the unexpected - a highly original and also elusive songwriter who continues to inspire and surprise with every release. Early recordings found a home on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label, comprising crafty collages of loops and tape noise and pop melodies that both recalled outsider masterpieces of the '60s '70s and '80s, and also sounded like nothing else on earth. They set the tone for a career that's been marked by invention, and reinvention. We've seen collaborative releases with artists like Weyes Blood, R Stevie Moore, and John Maus among many others. We've heard perfect pop songs on labels like 4AD as well as wilfully obscure studio experiments and obtuse stream-of-consciousness comedy skits.The latest album features some of the best of all those many worlds, a sincere tribute to the artist Bobby Jameson whose work Ariel discovered following the release of 2014's Pom Pom. Songs are loosely based on the narrative of Bobby's life which was marked by success (opening for the Beach Boys, playing with Frank Zappa and receiving support from the Rolling Stones) but also sadness and the struggle for proper recognition. Ariel has a gift for deceptively complex arrangements and melodies that sound timeless and totally new, and here offers some of his most immediate and addictive material to date. The closing number features a collaboration with kindred spirit Dam Funk, a supremely catchy funk-infused coda.
When philosopher Heraclitus said you can never step twice into the same river, as both the river and person will have changed, he may well have been referring to the music of Mount Kimbie. Their three albums reveal an experimental, innovative spirit that continues to evolve. Early recordings arrived in 2010, a time when London heard both a surge in dubstep music and the emergence of new electronic forms in response. Mount Kimbie's debut LP Crooks & Lovers - like the early releases of friends The xx and James Blake - would come to define the shifting sounds and moods of the era.
Cold Spring Fault Less Youth arrived three years later, an impressive development into new sonic territory. Songs were driven by vocals and acoustic instrumentation, the fluid electronic programming of earlier tracks replaced by post-punk rhythms. And now Love What Survives shows Kai and Dominic arguably at their most adventurous, and focused. The originality that's always marked their work is channeled in a number of directions, everything from motorik rock to experimental pop and minimalist gospel soul. The list of collaborators also continues to grow - the new album features contributions from Micachu, James Blake, Andrea Balency, and King Krule.