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Mitski – ‘Your Best American Girl’ [Lo-fi/Pop]

From a soft spoken, softly played ballad to a shimmering giant stretching across the horizon, ‘Your Best American Girl’ is exactly what needed to follow Mitski’s indie breakout hit Bury Me At Makeout Creek. The mix of lofi pop and thundering shoegaze that appeared previously in her discography is here refined, balancing the heavy and light on the scales even through a fuzzlined guitar solo and breakdown chorus so that fans of either genre can appreciate. Seeing as ‘Your Best American Girl’ is the first taste of Mitski’s fourth LP (the brilliantly titled Puberty 2, out June 17th), it sets up what is sure to be a brilliant follow up work from an artist who deserves to be a household name.

Bad Vision

Bad Vision – ‘Goons’ (Video) [Folk punk]

The only issue with video with Bad Vision’s video for ‘Goons’ is that the house that they’re in looks not one bit like a squat and this song sounds so much like a squat song. Banjos, jangly guitar and leather jackets don’t do much to dispel this during the feel good video, which needs to be pointed out, is actually incredibly impressive considering the entire thing is done in one tracking shot. In that time you have band members rushing into positions like they’re in the memory sequences of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, ready to move the instant the camera hits them to create the illusion of a breezy life in a share house. It also helps that ‘Goons’ is a ripper of a track, aggressive without being angsty or broody, or leaving you wanting to punch something or party. If ever there was a track to make you feel good just for getting up in the morning, it’s ‘Goons’.

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Nico Ghost – ‘Night Terrors’ [Hip–Hop]

If you don’t know Nico Ghost, by the end of the first verse of ‘Night Terrors’ you’ll be firmly acquainted with him on a personal level. Spilling his guts like a 2am drunken D&M, Nico Ghost speaks hard and fast of something most MCs avoid until they are far removed from their listeners: what keeps them up at night. The production on ‘Night Terrors’ is tight, vaguely reminiscent of trip–hop artists before him, but with too much of a punch to truly fall into the label. The chorus of ‘night terrors in the night’ falls fairly flat however, the lyrics too simplistic to hook in and the effect coming off somewhat cheap. Other than that, ‘Night Terrors’ are a deeply expressive and candid look into one of Melbourne’s more interesting MCs and his anxieties in a way that is sure to make a splash.

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Mayer Hawthorne – ‘Love Like That’ [Pop]

‘Love Like That’ is so 80s you can practically taste the disappointment from Ziggy Stardust purists. Bloopy synths ripped straight from a New Order take Mayer Hawthorne’s catchy as hell track back to the analogue age, while a harmonised hooking chorus keeps it anchored there. While not as abstractly weird as some Aussie underground pop (looking your way Client Liasion), it’s certainly worth a listen. But speaking honestly, if you aren’t dancing around your longue in a shoulder–padded suit while ‘Love Like That’ plays, you’re listening to it wrong.

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Ariela Jacobs – ‘Lost’ [Indie Pop]

A stripped back war march dedicated to love, Ariela Jacobs tears her heart from her chest and pins it firmly to her sleeve with ‘Lost’. Conjuring up images of Missy Higgins, the Melbournite starts things slow and quietly, just her silken voice wrapped around soft striking piano chords. But as ‘Lost’ goes on, Jacobs finds herself leading an army, snare drum blaring behind her as she shouts like the lyrics have possessed her. A beautiful gift from a truly talented musician, ‘Lost’ is sure to make your heart tremble or at the very least send a shiver down your spine.

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Chris Cohen – ‘Torrey Pine’ [Psych Rock]

Boy, it sure isn’t surprising to find ‘Torrey Pine’ was brought to your ears from the same folk behind Mac Demarco (Captured Tracks). While billed as Psychedelic, Chris Cohen’s newest offering seems more like a slacker–rock track with a bit more effects added into the mix, an effortless sounding ditty that lulls you deeper and deeper into the beanbag chair that you found on the side of the road. It’s breezy, but suffers from a case of throwing everything at you from the moment it begins, ultimately plateauing and resulting in a meandering journey between verse and chorus.

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Pretty Pink ft. ARC – ‘Run’ [EDM]

Just gonna start off with a disclaimer here: EDM is a pretty new territory for this writer, so if this review sounds like it was written by a 50 year old, you know why. Pretty Pink seems to have sculpted ‘Run’ from pure melancholy, from the ghostly synth stabs to the pleading chorus of “let me run away, let me run from you”. The repetition drills pretty much every riff from ‘Run’ into your head as it goes, so by the time it’s over it’ll never leave your head, but that’s not such a bad thing considering the otherworldly nature of Pretty Pink’s vocals and the subtleties lacing the programming. Enjoyable even outside the club walls, ‘Run’ manages to bridge a gap of accessibility not much of the genre can.


Pretty Pink feat. ARC Run (Official Music Video) by tseries4

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Fifth Harmony Ft. Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Work From Home’ (Video) [Pop]

‘Work From Home’ is what you’d expect to be playing on a Top 40 US radio station, pop infused with RnB elements that you can dance to or bop your head to. Unless you’re offended by women owning their sexuality (which last week’s Kim Kardashian saga showed may be the case), there’s not much to hate about it, other than potential to be overplayed. The video deserves some props, though, with the group showcasing some truly impressive choreography dancing around a construction site and/or using power tools, that takes some coordination. Also, there is no way you can look past the adorable cheeky smile Ty Dolla Sign has on his face as he strolls through a half constructed house.

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Mayfair Kytes – ‘Sleepyhead’ [Alt Folk Rock]

The more you think about ‘Sleepyhead’, the harder it becomes to describe. That may sound like a cop out (it doesn’t just sound like, it is), but it’s the only way to rationalising watching the same video for an hour and coming out more and more confused each time.

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AUSTEN – ‘Faded’ [EDM/Soul]

Creeping and moody, you wouldn’t expect Aussie producer AUSTEN’s debut to end up as the banger that it does. Low key at first, AUSTEN moans of the object of her desires while a vaguely sinister atmosphere fills the air around. Quickly the chorus blows in, along with the robotic horn hook that will not dislodge itself from your head afterwards. As the song closes a hurricane of sound tears through, though despite this destructive force of nature, the beat remains to suck you in. All in all it adds up to a track that would work perfectly in a pitch black club, or a car cruising down the freeway at one in the morning.

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Lissie – ‘Daughters’ [Indie Rock] (Video)

It’s not often that music videos go after social issues, but nearly always the result is hard hitting. Take At The Drive In’s ‘Invalid Litter Department’ video, showcasing the horrors of the massive femicide rocking the Mexican City of Juarez (that is still continues to this day, the largest unsolved murder in the world). But Lissie takes a different approach with ‘Daughters’. Instead of focusing on rural Africa without water and drawing close to exploitation, the video shows the members of the township working on building a water pump as a source of regular nearby water and the celebration when the building project is finished. With every view of the video sending funding to small towns in Africa with scarce water supplies, it’s a good listen for a good cause, partnered with a video that doesn’t step on any toes.

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FILTER – ‘Take Me to Heaven’ [Alt Rock] (Video)

Sometimes you’re force to take a look at things that you once loved as a kid and realise that ‘Hey, maybe thing wasn’t actually good and I just hadn’t developed taste yet’. Sonic The Hedgehog, Post–American Idiot Green Day, Anarchy symbols, the taste of glue, there are just things you eventually have to admit that despite how much you liked it before, it’s kinda trash now. And FILTER, with their overpolished angsty 90s sounds, falls into that category. Listen to their newest single ‘Take Me to Heaven’ without the benefit of nostalgia to blind you. While it isn’t identical to 1995s ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’, considering there’s been 20+ years between then, there is frightfully little evolution to the band. The angst is boring and seemingly empty, and feels like it was rejected from the world of nu–metal for being overwrought. The video is similar, featuring men doing siqqq backflips while women rub themselves down with water in a weird sexual angle that doesn’t need to be there.

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Luca Brasi – ‘Anything near Conviction’ [Punk] (New Album)

‘Anything near Conviction’ was made to be played live. Everything from the roaring power chords and hammering drums radiate an atmosphere to get fists (and occasionally bodies) in the air. Luca Brasi have already made themselves a name for their pure, heart on their sleeve but still not cheesy or immature. With ‘Anything near Conviction’, it’s looking like they’ll be continuing this tradition.

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Kristin Kontrol – ‘X–Communicate’ [Darkwave]

First off, if you don’t know Kristin Welchez’s other band Dum Dum Girls, you are highly encouraged to listen to their phenomenal EP He Gets Me High. To the rest of you, you’re acquainted with Welchez’s velveteen voice and knack from writing pure bleakness. Kristin Kontrol the seasoned songwriter trading off her fuzz–covered guitar for whirling synths like a stylised New Order, though the presence of a solo during the final moments of ‘X–Communicate’ should reassure you that the trade isn’t for good. Many acts have tried to make the jump into the electronic goth sounds that inspired them, but ‘X–Communicate’ stands out as more than a simple homage but an project with actual substance behind it. It’ll be interesting seeing what Welchez brings out next seeing as this is the first ever release under the moniker Kristin Kontrol, but until then the world with have to make do with the Dum Dum Girls catalogue and the Beware The Batman theme that she composed under the name Kristin Welchez.

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AJJ – ‘Now That I’m at the Top of my Game’ [Indie Rock] (Video)

We could spend this entry talking about the fact that AJJ have just last week changed their name from Andrew Jackson Jihad. We could spend it talking about the weird backlash they received from fans for changing it, citing freedom of speech for some reason as the origin of their anger. We could talk about the follow–up to 2014s Christmas Island being announced alongside it, tossed aside for the most part to be outraged. But we won’t do any of that that. Instead, we’ll watch this video for their new track ‘Now That I’m at the Top of my Game’, filled with body builders and terrifying mouths and stock photo logos, and we’ll all feel that horror and inability to look away together. It’ll help.

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P.O.S. – Sleepdrone/Superstition [Alt–Rap/Punk/???] (Video)

P.O.S. is a one man powerhouse from Minneapolis and it’s criminal that he has yet to blow up. The mastermind behind a ridiculous number of ridiculously talented acts like Doomtree and Building More Bombs, the man has so much talent in his brain, which is why it’s such a shame that his last solo album was 2012 We Don’t Even Live Here. But ‘Sleepdrone/Superposition’ is his magnum opus, a nine minute brutal spewing of everything, so dense trying to summarise it has no point when it would take longer to read than the song’s playtime. Featuring back–up vocals from friends Lizzo, Astronautalis, Allan Kingdom, his son Hard_r, and Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, ‘Sleepdrone/Superposition’ is a religious experience. And in case you wanted that summary, P.O.S. himself has annotated the track’s lyrics over at Genius, so enjoy reading and feeling your heart break.

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Chelsea Wolfe – ‘I Love You All the Time’ [Drone Pop]

Part of the Play It Forwards campaign to support the victims of the infamous 2015 Paris attacks, namely those inside the Bataclan Theatre watching Eagles of Death Metal when shooting erupted, killing at least 87 people and causing a shockwave that is still being felt today. The idea is that an act releases a cover of Eagles of Death Metal single ‘I Love You All the Time’ to show support, and donates all money earned from the track to charity. Many acts from Pearl Jam to Florence and the Machine to My Morning Jacket have spun the track into their own ways, but while all are good in their own right, it is drone pop pioneer Chelsea Wolfe who has the most success twisting the song into her own. A slow, creeping track, the only sign of the original here is the vague country twang in the background. Instead Jesse Hughes normal cockiness is replaced with Wolfe’s otherworldly crooning, as if acknowledging the horror now attached to the song forevermore with careful deliberation. The instrumentation lends to this, as if sucking out the colour from the world. Chelsea Wolfe doesn’t just craft a eulogy for the victims with ‘I Love You All the Time’; she holds an entire funeral procession.

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Osaka Punch – ‘Stonk’ [Hard Rock]

Some bizarre mix of Clutch and Led Zeppelin if both had been born conjoined in the deep American South during the 21st century, Osaka Punch sounds like it shouldn’t work as well as it does, or at the very least feels more like a guilty pleasure. Crushing riffs and hard–ass vocals blare and form an earworm that drives itself into your brain. Combined with “life worth living” style lyrics, ‘Stonk’ really turns out better than it really should be.

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Hoodlem – ‘4 real’ [Electronic/RnB]

The anonymous Melbourne experimental electronic duo that is Hoodlem are always an interesting group to hear from. A few weeks back saw the release of their unnerving ‘Kitsugi’ video, now the two have released the equally–unnerving–but–for–different–reasons single ‘4 real’. For a track the builds on the chopped up howl of a woman for its beat, ‘4 real’ is a surprisingly accessible track that could almost be considered as a moodier, poppier Aphex Twin track. As ‘4 real’ continues, Hoodlem merges these strangenesses with more traditional electronic and RnB elements, resulting in one of the more unique sounds coming out of the scene. With how active the group are becoming of late, don’t be surprised if they suddenly burst forth into the public’s eyes the same way that Burial and even Best Coast have years earlier.

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The Pretty Littles – ‘Pride’

The Pretty Littles are one of the few acts that perfectly capture their sound in the title. The charged guitar melody twinkles like a star stabbing through an overcast night, leaving the track feeling as exposed as a ballad despite the typically punk blistering drum work and nasal brat vocals. The ‘little’ part comes from the pleading vocals of Jono on the mic, overpowered throughout the track by the other instruments, adding this meta level to the declaration of ‘Pride’, creating this sense of smallness in our narrator no matter how loud and shouty he gets. Ultimately, The Pretty Littles in one track turn a weakness into a strength and develop more than most punk acts do in a lifetime in a single track.

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