From Eskimo Joe to Hearts and Rockets: Australia’s best new music for July | Music

Get your ears around these 20 new Australian songs and catch up on new releases from past months.

Eskimo Joe – Say Something

For fans of: Coldplay, INXS, the Killers

It took Eskimo Joe a handful of novelty singles and two albums of intricatepop before they owned up to their stadium-sized ambitions. 2006’s album Black Fingernails, Red Wine and its titular hit single was the first time the scope of their potential was evident, with new reference points INXS and U2 suggesting a band who planned on taking things international. While world domination didn’t quite happen for the Perth three-piece, they did expand their palette of sounds and styles across three subsequent albums, building an enviable catalogue of work – before disappearing into dust. Seven years later, Say Something indicates that Eskimo Joe are still swinging for the fences, returning with a beat-driven anthem written for today’s commercial radio, yet incorporating enough Eskimo Joe of the past to placate fans, namely 4/4 metronome verses, Kav Temperley’s distinctive drawl, and that classic Coldplay Clocks beat under a chorus designed to be yelled back at them in an arena.

For more: The band’s six albums were released on vinyl last year.

Gordi – Extraordinary Life

For fans of: Sarah Blasko, Caitlin Park, Wilco

It’s a sign of the times that when Gordi’s excellent second album, Our Two Skins, came out last Friday, she’d already released more than half its tracks as singles. Extraordinary Life was an interesting choice to put out in conjunction with the album’s release, it being a slow-burning, gently building ballad with no discernible chorus, relying instead on a hypnotic, floating feeling. This song wasn’t built for the charts but it does represent the ethereal qualities inherent in Our Two Skins. With beautifully crafted rhythm parts, the haunting guitars that open the song, and Gordi’s unhurried approach, it makes for the perfect album advertisement. If this song grabs you at all, then her album will feel like a warm hug.

For more: Our Two Skins is out now. Gordi will tour Australia with Bon Iver from next March.

Urthboy – The Night Took You

For fans of: Allday, Travis Scott, M83

A tender vocal melody washed in vocoder and bedded in a minimalist beats opens Urthboy’s most mature composition to date, but don’t be fooled into thinking Tim Levinson has abandoned the cracking hip-hop that made him a household name. After five much-loved solo albums and another five with the Herd, he has somehow managed to wander confidently into uncharted territory. Cinematic in scope, and never tethered to traditional song structure, this latest statement of intent sees Urthboy swing from dancing keys and stacked harmonies à la Imogen Heap, through down-tempo R&B, an EDM breakdown and laconic rap – yet always returning to the soulful, memorable chorus. This is a new high for Urthboy, proof that the herd should be following him.

For more: Listen to his 2016 album The Past Beats Inside Me Like a Second Heartbeat.

Grace Farriss

Grace Farriss’s All the People belongs at the back end of an epic all-night Studio 54 set. Photograph: Jarryd Buckley

Grace Farriss – All the People

For fans of: Marcia Hines, Kool and the Gang, Donna Summer

Let’s get it out of the way: Grace Farriss is the daughter of the INXS legend Andrew Farriss. But, aside from wailing brass, there are absolutely no signs of her old man on this stunning debut single. All the People belongs at the back end of an epic all-night Studio 54 set, a blast of energetic disco to drag everybody back out on to the dancefloor for one final boogie. The warm analogue production, Farriss’s unbridled vocals, and one hell of a rhythm section propel this song along. We live in a world where sonically similar outliers – Hey Ya, Uptown Funk and Lizzo’s Good as Hell – have crashed to the top of the charts and become modern classics. Hopefully, similar fortunes will shine on this fantastic jam.

For more: This is her debut single – stay tuned.

Hearts and Rockets – Milk Bar

For fans of: the Grates, Beat Happening, the Moldy Peaches

Picture a classic Australian milk bar, the type that thrived through the 80s and all but died by Y2K. Now picture the variety of treats available: Bubble O’Bills, Chiko Rolls, Sunnyboys and Freddo Frogs, to name a few. Those four and many more childhood favourites are gleefully listed in this sugar-rush punk blast by the Melbourne two-piece Hearts and Rockets. Sure, it’s pure novelty and nostalgia, and about as deep as a Wizz Fizz spoon, but it captures childhood frivolity in that great Grates way, in which singing about using a bed as a trampoline, or, in this case, ducking to the corner store, can take on mythic proportions. Scuzzy bass, riot grrrl vocals, and a hook about Passiona – what’s not to love?

For more: Check out their 2017 album Deadbeats and last year’s Power.

Ernest Ellis – A Depressed Card Dealer

For fans of: Yeezus, Alex Cameron, Tom Waits

Considering how successfully Ernest Ellis captures the sleaze of late-night Vegas in this ode to decay and depression, it’s no surprise to learn the genesis of the song came in such a casino, one long stripped of any glamour. “I fixated on an elderly card dealer who looked like death warmed up,” Ellis explained. “Glazed stare, jaundiced sunken cheeks, automated hand movements.” He wrote a song from her imagined point of view, and the repetitive groove, the industrial grind of the guitars and the vocal half spoken through a fog of cigarette smoke captures the degradation perfectly. The highlight of the song comes two and a half minutes in, when the mechanical crunch drops away and a staticky piano waltzes in, as if a crossed radio signal beamed in from the 1930s and interrupted the broadcast. It lasts all of 15 seconds, but the effect is profound – a daydream, a mind wandering – and doubly effective when a sharp blast of industrial distortion jolts us back to reality. Ellis’s Vegas is not the song and dance of a vaudeville stage show, but a tired societal fringe dweller, robotically dealing cards to those with half-empty whiskey glasses, lungs filled with smoke, and everything hanging on the next hand.

For more: Album Be the Pariah is out 7 August.

Philadelphia Grand Jury – Nervous Breakdown

For fans of: Klinger, Hoodoo Gurus, the Drums

This song’s wordless hook takes mere seconds to lodge itself into your brain.

More than a decade ago the Sydney band Philadelphia Grand Jury seemed poised for massive things. Their debut album charted in the top 40, with three hooky singles much beloved by Triple J and festival crowds alike. Then it all fell apart, the group becoming yet another victim of conflicting schedules and the rigours of indie touring life. A 2015 reformation and trek to Berlin resulted in a second, less-warmly received album; more radio silence followed. Luckily, 11 years since their debut, the Philly Jays are still capable of the type of instant rush pop that catapulted them to the big leagues. This song’s wordless hook takes mere seconds to lodge itself into your brain (while also recalling the Delltones), while the smudged vocoder that bubbles under the first verse adds a murky element to the otherwise clean production, crisp lead vocals and peels of surf guitar.

For more: Philadelphia Grand Jury are planning to announce a national tour in the coming weeks.

Wagons – Need a Ride?

For fans of: Tex Perkins, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Drones

Never has Henry Wagons’ swaggering country rock ensemble sounded so menacing, so willing to trade their soul to the devil for a can of petrol and a decent tune to whistle. Wagons’ doomsday vocals are buried somewhat under a marching beat and swarms of serrated guitar, his voice here landing somewhere between a demented Jim Morrison and Nick Cave at his most depraved. It’s nigh impossible to make out any of the lyrics bar the title, but this matters little – the spirit of the song howls throughout. It’s the soundtrack of a dark back road in the middle of nowhere, a ghost on the midnight wind, and a car’s headlights closing in as you decide whether or not to take the ride. A fantastic mood piece.

For more: Wagons’ five-song EP Need a Ride is out now.

Scott Darlow

Yorta Yorta singer songwriter Scott Darlow. Photograph: Mushroom Group

Scott Darlow ft Ian Kenny – You Can’t See Black in the Dark

It’s quite the vote of confidence when somebody decides to build an entire record label around your talent, more so when that “somebody” happens to be Michael Gudinski, who has steered the careers of everyone from Kylie Minogue to Vance Joy. It’s no surprise the Mushroom impresario was keen to secure the talents of the Yorta Yorta singer songwriter Scott Darlow for his newly launched Reclusive label; Darlow is a First Nations activist, a World Vision spokesperson, and one hell of a multiskilled musician. This powerful single echoes those Aussie FM hits of the 80s that tackled the plights of Aboriginal people, both in subject matter, and sonically – the chugging verse, clear, open-hearted message and a huge chorus recalls the likes of Midnight Oil, Goanna and Icehouse, both in intent and execution. The Birds of Tokyo singer Ian Kenny lends his powerhouse vocals to this song but it’s Darlow’s defiance that cuts through. A timely message that cannot be heard too often.

For more: Listen to Darlow’s 2016 album, Sorry, featuring his cover of Solid Rock.

Beach Panic – Bumper Sticker

For fans of: the B-52s, the Ramones, Wavves

Ever since Beach Boy Dennis Wilson convinced his brother Brian to write songs about the new California craze, surf music has comprised the same base elements: slide guitar parts that approximate the rush of peeling through a barrel, cheerleader drums that pound with school spirit and wide-eyed tales of sun, sex and the sea. For the Melbourne band Beach Panic, there were excessive levels of California Dreamin’ as they recorded this sunny stomp in the middle of an Australian winter, while unemployed and in lockdown during a once-in-a-life pandemic. None of this yearning is present in the track, though; a bright breezy tale of teenage heartbreak, garage rock dreams, and the kind of endless summers that only exist for the young.

For more: Beach Panic’s EP Our Cloud is out now.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *