Beat’s favourite new local tracks in February: Immy Owusu, TAMS/N OTWAY and more
28.02.2022

Beat’s favourite new local tracks in February: Immy Owusu, TAMS/N OTWAY and more

Tamsin Otway
Gani Photography
Words by Augustus Welby

Every month, we round up our favourite new releases from local acts and explain why you should get them around them.

Last month, we reviewed new tracks from the likes of Dallas Woods and Camp Cope, you can check that article out here. Otherwise, read on for the hottest new music this month from Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Larry Maluma – ‘Bush Doctor’

(Independent)

 

Zambian musician Larry Maluma moved to Australian in the mid 1980s. He might not have become a household name, but the Zamrock and funk musician is still making music with revolutionary conviction.

Maluma’s new album, Justice, has been in the oven for five years. It’s been a time of great personal loss and professional setbacks for Maluma. But on songs such as the infectious, reggae-influenced ‘Bush Doctor’, Maluma displays a resilient spirit.

Immy Owusu – ‘Mantra’

(Hopestreet Recordings)

 

Torquay musician Immy Owusu specialises in a blend of psychedelic rock, funk and West African roots music that he calls “Afrodelik”. Owusu’s music is a conscious and natural merging of the influence of his Surf Coast upbringing and his paternal Ghanaian heritage.

‘Mantra’ moves nimbly along a light footed grooved. Owusu’s lead vocals are the focal point; elegant, captivating. “We all feel it now,” he sings, with manifest urgency, assuring the song’s subject that darkness can be shared and absorbed together.

TAMS/N OTWAY – ‘Love Me Always’

(Independent)

 

TAMS/N OTWAY has released a series of singles over the last couple of years. Some were gleaming, pop-oriented tracks, others painted Otway as a capable Lana Del Rey acolyte. But none have possessed the resolute intent of ‘Love Me Always’.

It’s a rock song of the anthemic variety, key change and crispy guitar solo included. There’s a hint of Killers about it, but Otway’s voice eschews all affectation. In fact, although ‘Love Me Always’ might have festival uniting potential, the Melbourne singer seems more interested in getting things off her chest than penning a hit.

Oceans – ‘Bachelor Kisses – Live at Dangertone Studios’

(Independent)

 

You had me at “Go-Betweens cover.” ‘Bachelor Kisses’, from Oceans’ new EP, Live at Dangertone Studios, is precisely that; a redo of Grant McLennan’s leadoff track from the GBs’ 1984 LP, Spring Hill Fair. Oceans – which until now has been a solo project for Melbourne musician Thomas Lee – place their version at the beginning of the track sequence too, and it’s a canny move.

Lee’s layered shoegaze and dream pop recordings haven’t always been the most penetrable things. But the gentle melodicism of ‘Bachelor Kisses’ – which features backing vocalist Mayzie Lee, guitarist Dwayne Pearce, bass player Joshua Strange, keyboardist Anthony Knoepfle and drummer Michael Fox – shows off the romantic, empathetic core of the Oceans sound.

Soft Powder – ‘Running Through the Dark’

(Independent)

 

To describe the music Melbourne’s Andy Szetho makes as Soft Powder as “dreamy” seems a bit lazy and a bit obvious. But on songs like ‘Running Through the Dark’, Szetho’s synth-wave production generates the same kind of so-close-yet-so-far sensation that often characterises dream consciousness.

‘Running Through the Dark’ is purposely lo-fi, comprising soft textures and minimal dynamic variance. Szetho’s voice is present throughout but just one among many elements, soaked in as much reverb as are the guitars, drums and synthesisers. The overall impression is one of elusiveness.

SheOak – ‘Never Ending Maze’

(Moonleaf Records)

 

SheOak’s ‘Never Ending Maze’ executes something that so many songwriters aim for but end up compromising on – i.e. minimalist simplicity. SheOak is ordinarily a four piece band led by vocalist and songwriter Xadi Walsh. But on ‘Never Ending Maze’, Walsh goes it alone, singing over a lone strumming acoustic guitar.

There’s a bit of reverb, but the recording is otherwise naked, offering a view into the heart of the songwriter’s process. In giving us access to the essence of SheOak, Walsh commits a courageous act of artistic demystification.

Ferla – ‘Violence’

(Independent) 

 Is it too early to make “song of the year” proclamations? Either way, Ferla’s latest single and the final track released ahead of the band’s second album, Personal Hotspot, is a stone cold killer. It’s a pop song. Melodramatic. Excited. Concerned.

As is typical of songwriter Giuliano Ferla, the off-centre accessibility of ‘Violence’ is slightly undercut by Ferla’s paranoid lyricism. Though, he’s only paranoid insofar as he pays attention to the chaos and unpredictability of life – life of the individual and life as an animating principle behind everything in existence.

It’s pure class, top to bottom. Bravo.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.