Time slows down in the best way during Rainbow Islands, a dizzy triumph from Kiwi collective Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing. Each second is loaded with satisfaction, with an incredible sax payoff. It’s one of the best instances of outsider pop from our end of the Earth in recent times. Listen close and you’ll hear a giant.
Brissy’s Blank Realm have a great knack for making you jangle your bones like a marionette, and with its mini hurricane rhythm, River Of Longing is no different. It’s an uplifting trip, almost an air of ‘80s power pop garnishing the chorus. New album Illegals In Heaven is due out later this year, but until then, flap your skeleton around to this.
To Pimp A Butterfly is an album with few clear-cut singles. i is the foremost candidate, but even its single-ness was mitigated slightly by the fresh mix that appears on the album. Alright is the other clear single on the LP, with its killer feel-good hook, now accompanied by an incredible video. Despite functioning as a single, there’s no compromise in themes or arrangement; bounce-...
Not totally feeling this, but it’s a serviceable throwback to turn-of-the-decade Australian indie-dance, feeling like Cut Copy, PNAU, Van She all viewed from a barely nostalgic lens. But still, it’s all barely interesting.
This is scary, good, and scary good. Sydney trio Black Vanilla creep low through an arrhythmic mist, lunging back and forth with physical menace. “Waste me if you find me”. This is dangerous music. Black Vanilla reach on a higher level while digging deep.
A mysterious Melburnian who pretty much every other Melburnian has never heard of, Katie Dey forages through remnants of the alt-pop explosion at the turn of the decade to assemble some brilliance that is her own. A triumphant joy that should be obnoxious but really isn’t. New album asdfasdf out now.
There’s just enough touches of modernity injected into a funked up romp that could’ve been lifted from a Quincy Jones blaxploitation OST to preserve the spirit of the ‘70s. Even with Kody Nielson’s sensual croon at odds with the car chase tempo, it still works, and leaves the door wide open for a slow jam remix.
This is overwhelmingly fucking fantastic and probably the best pop song of 2015 so far. Janet effortlessly reclaims the crown with an irresistible fuck-jam, setting the mood with ambient storms in the background. The sound of rain is pretty much my favourite thing ever so that tips this into 11/10 territory.
With a touch of Thommy ‘T-Bone’ Yorke in the vocal and Johnny Greenwood in the swirling guitar, I’lls invite comparisons that might fell a lesser band, but they hold strong on Keep, constructing an eerie, soothing calm. It’s a cosy tonal space. Nothing revelatory, but it doesn’t really strive in that direction.
Annie Clark guests as a space alien on the latest cut from the resurgent Chemical Brothers, guiding a slow-burner, flirting with acid house and flautists along the way, often divergent, always brilliant. Embrace the sub-bass.
The fluid vocal on Baby (Lite) crashes over the jarring instrumental like waves on rock. It’s an awe-inducing spectacle, yet somehow retains an innate sense of intimacy. It’s a thing of beauty, effortlessly melding two incongruous elements to create one of the most brilliantly idiosyncratic production-based compositions to emerge in Australia in recent times. Listen close enough, it’...
One of the most solid, and fucken’ loudest, live bands in Melbourne return with a huge script-flip on Creep Heart, relaying some purified pop chants with only a hint of blown out fuzz bubbling underneath the surface. It’s unnervingly brilliant, the spritely infectiousness of it all compounded by the blatant stalker theme. A deranged little gem.
Pop icon Robyn returns with a new project in La Bagatelle Magique, and the first taste is a glorious dancefloor banger that will pretty much evaporate your shirt and oil up your torso. Love is free, baby.
Australia’s current batch of solid shoegaze talent tend to indulge in melody a touch more than the genre’s progenitors. Hideous Towns truly soar on Heart Attack, the vocal all but consuming the mix, which wouldn’t really work if those soaring melodies faltered in any way. But Heart Attack stands tall in its gazey majesty.
So this was never going to live up to its all-star billing, but it’s still highly listenable modern Euro-pop. It’s emboldened by Sir Nile’s indelible licks, while both Duran Duran and Ms Monae are sold short by fairly lousy, if playful, lyrics, but manage to sell the package all the same. It reminds me of Giorgio Moroder and Kylie’s recent team-up, which came to life in the live...
There’s a gimmick at play here, with Davey performing in the left stereo channel, and his guest – King Gizz bloke Stu Mackenzie – taking over the right channel. Thing is, the track is a belter, using the stereo dynamic to escalate the insanity in the madcap romp, but it still would be a cracker even if it was played straight. Top shelf, and a little bit genius.
I always dug Beck’s throwaway pop jams (think Timebomb), but the daggering riffs and decent chorus here on Dreams isn’t really enough to carry the soggy football chant elements and falsetto which diminishes the legacy of Midnight Vultures. Feels nice for a listen or two, and will act as serviceable filler in the live setlist, but there’s little substance to grasp.
If you’re aiming for sensual intimacy, maybe don’t try and do it over what sounds like your teen brother dicking around on an MPC they just got off Gumtree only to get bored with it and sell it on Gumtree a month later at a $50 loss to some guy demanding a discount because they have to drive all the way from the suburbs on a Saturday.
Chet Faker (real name Chad Faker) revels in some adventurous, and a little bit sleazy, production swank on Bend. It almost gets there for the most part, then finally everything congeals into a steamy, sticky pay-off. It’s hypnotically good, and I think this marks the first time I’ve ever enjoyed a Chet Faker song. Keep up the good work Chad.
One of the strongest house bangers of the year just burst forth from Dunedin. Young producer Gasp exhibits d-floor mastery on the dynamic and brilliant YouKnow, delving into fundamental tones and composition to achieve a undeniable purity, thus exceeding the works of more experienced contemporaries the world over. Hopefully there’ll be more of the good stuff flowing from across the...
Stonefist brutalises from the get go, blasting with stuttering, awesome noise, before clearing up into a really fucking spacious exploration of pop melody. It’s exactly how a new HEALTH song should sound, pushing themselves in a new direction while retaining their core indecency. It’s evolution, and it sounds fantastic. Their new album, the first proper full-length since 2009’s In...
This song should be bottled up, labelled “EAR POISON” then banned from the ear poison market for perceived antitrust due to its effectiveness at being ear poison. Imagine if any of the PC Music stable went all in on pure obnoxiousness and avoided what little charm they already projected and you have some idea of the vacuous sounds at play here. Bad bad bad bad.
Everything about Easy is done in the right measure – the timid-yet-powerful vocals that sound a bit like Silversun Pickups, the effortlessly good chorus lyrics, “It’s not hell / But it’s not easy”, plus the ease of transition into a tidy little guitar solo. It’s a nice mix of building promise and holding back from overreaching by a fairly nascent outfit.
Nostalgic synths float throughout Take It All Back, punctuated by some damn fine crisp percussion. The banality of Zhen’s lyrical regret gives the track a unique, underhanded charm. Lines like “I should have made us food that night,” are delivered with a double-edged sincerity that almost invites sardonic interpretation. As far as retro synth sounds go, Take It All Back is a...
I can’t remember what the older City Calm Down tracks sounded like, but this one is in a space that invokes the New Order/Joy Division revival wave of the mid-2000s more so than the progenitors themselves, and that’s not an entirely terrible thing. Solid, but not spectacular, it’s still a damn sight more palatable than Editors.
This is such a good love song and it sounds fantastic. The simple sweet melody is pure bliss; the riff itself is rich with emotive impact, a genuine euphoria, something communal and real. The fact that Shogun is the best vocalist in the country is just a bonus. It’s perfect in construction, clearing breathing space after the middle eight – classic, to the point, songwriting. I’ve...
It takes a few listens to realise how brilliant the Super Mario Bros sample really is, but once you do, Cha Cha is a whole (Super Mario) world of fun. The track exceeds the realm of novelty to become one of the year’s most irresistible viral hits. Last week I spoke at length on the phone to my partner, who is in NYC, about how important songs are. I wish I could remember exactly what...