Q3 is off to a firing start…
Q3 is off to a firing start…
“This is basically the sound of coming down.”
The only songs worth listening to this week to be quite frank.
KLP is back with another banger, this time featuring the smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom rhymes of Aussie wordsmith Remi. KLP has obviously been putting some serious studio time in, between playing live DJ sets all over Sydney and presenting the occasional show on triple j. ‘Recover’ is sure fire proof that KLP is also the queen of Aussie collabs, and that her sensational work with Goldfields earlier in the year was no fluke.
Last year, Flume, probably deservedly, took home the J Award for the Best Australian Album of the Year according to triple j. Flume’s album featured one particular collaboration with fellow Aussie Chet Faker, Left Alone, which exemplified a bromance which has flourished ever since. Come 2014 and like a mother feeling sorry for the other sibling, triple j has awarded Chet Faker’s, Built On Glass, the J Award.
This means that in a year where Australia had arguably one of the most excitable musical climates in the world, Chet Faker’s was the one that stood out over all. While we aren’t arguing the fact that Built On Glass was a good debut record, great even, there were plenty of other albums that had a little more flair, originality and energy.
Also file this under our favourite Australian albums of 2014.
The Preatures have had a massive year, not losing any of the momentum they gained from Is This How You Feel? Their debut album Blue Planet Eyes validated all the hype. It was a sexy, melodic record that smouldered with slow-burners and ate into our hearts with its catchy up-tempos. Somebody’s Talking is a cracker of a single, while the album as a whole is unmistakably Aussie. Surely that’s worth celebrating.
Sia was once a triple j darling but since she started writing for the likes of Beyonce and Christina Aguilera she’s failed to gain much traction there. That’s fair enough, it’s not like she really needed it, but nonetheless 1000 Forms Of Fear is a mighty pop record. Led by the soaring lead single, Chandelier, the album is a collection of mid-tempos that go way over-the-top with metaphors, huge chorus and billowing vocals. It would be definitely worth celebrating the success story that was Sia in 2014, particularly given her humble beginnings.
Remi is one of the finest rappers to come out of this country in a long time. He understands the overseas flavour but also has his feet firmly planted within Australian hip-hop. Raw x Infinity was a combustion of youthful energy, with a constantly bouncing beat and effortless flow. Remi really proves his credentials when he takes to the live arena with a show that’s more impressive than any local offering this year.
Allday is one of the first Australian rappers to really admit to overseas influence over local. His debut album Cult, exemplifies that with beats that sit somewhere between Mike Will Made It and Kaytranada. The most impressive thing about Cult is his effortless feel for melody. On the lead single Right Now, he sounds almost sleepy but still manages to carve out this tune that just hovers around your head. It’s the type of aspirational record that a 23 year-old should be delivering for his debut which is a lot easier said than done.
She may be from over the pond, but Kimbra’s debut Vows was nominated in 2011 so surely she could have nabbed the award in 2014. The Golden Echo far surpassed her debut both in ambition and in result. It was a cosmic journey through soul, RnB and pop collisions delivered by a confident vocalist whose mind is out of this world. ‘90s Music was wildly unexpected and while the rest of the album isn’t as left-of-centre, it’s still a refreshing take on a number of genres that have been overdone. Just when you feel like you’ve got a grip of The Golden Echo it takes a sudden turn. If we’re rewarding innovation and bravery here, the prize has to be Kimbra’s.
So, if we give the award to Kimbra then we have to also consider fellow New Zealanders, Broods, who delivered a polished, pop debut this year. Evergreen was full of, excuse the pun, brooding vocals and swirling beats that came together to form expert pop songs. Songs like Mother & Father tugged at the heartstrings while those like L.A.F. dazzled in happy giddiness. They’re the newcomers most likely to do big things overseas and, while a J Award would be slightly presumptuous, it would make triple j look damn good once they finally took off.
It took Andy Bull five years to deliver his follow-up record, Sea Of Approval, but impossibly it was worth the wait. While Chet Faker erred toward electronica to deliver what is essentially a pop record, Bull dabbled in RnB. At times it’s cinematic, at times it’s uncomfortably intimate but it’s always honest. Leading the album with a one-two-three punch of Keep On Running, Baby I Am Nobody Now and Talk Too Much, shows that he’s a popstar in disguise and deservant of far more attention than he’s been dealt.
Oh, what a world it would be. This would never happen and if it did it would be because triple j had been bought by ARN. But if we’re talking about great pop records it’s hard to look past Kylie’s 11th album. Yeah, it was a commercial flop but it was probably one of her most left-of-centre records since her 1994 self-titled effort. Written by the likes of Sia, Pharrell Williams and Ariel Rechtshaid, Kiss Me Once was one of the tastiest records of the year and gave us I Was Gonna Cancel- a moment of pop brilliance from the princess herself.
Many might be declaring rock dead in 2014 but DZ Deathrays are the best argument as to why it isn’t. On Black Rat, the duo’s second album, they’d cleaned themselves up a bit and rather than grunge gave us expansive, anthemic rock songs bound by crunching guitars and organic, thumping percussion. Northern Lights beats out any rock song released by an Australian acts in 2014. They’ve also quietly gone about their business, finding success overseas.
Melbourne group The Harpoons quietly released their excellent, funk-tinged debut this year and while it didn’t attract the fanfare it deserved, it’s one of those records that grows with age. From sensual slow-burners to quirky electronica, Falling For You was an album for lovers, which in many ways sits in the same lane as Chet Faker’s Built On Glass. It’s as if somebody remixed The Preatures with great success and repackaged it as The Harpoons. A brilliant, low-key stunner that reveals itself with every listen.
Brisbane has once again been transformed into a new music haven with BIGSOUND rolling into town. With it, the annual music conference has brought some of the most hype-worthy names in music to play over a number of venues in Fortitude Valley.
It says something about the state of new Australian music that despite it being a lineup of many fresh faces, it stands up against many major festivals. In the past year, DMA’s have become NME darlings, Oscar Key Sung has become one of the internet’s most buzzed names and Tkay Maidza has attracted the attention of International producers Ryan Hemsworth and Bok Bok. The talent at BIGSOUND 2014 lineup doesn’t just stack up locally, the artists playing are garnering international attention as well with many of them likely to pop up on the SXSW roster next year.
The head may have been a little bit sorer than day one, but our new music caps were still firmly on for day two of BIGSOUND. It was a night that moved from dulcet electronica to rambunctious hip-hop, once again proving the sheer quality of Australian music right now.
Click on the tabs to move through the artists.
If we’re being truthful, June should be awful. It’s the month when Winter finally hits you as a reality and you take to hot chocolates, Cheds and love handles. But, with the Northern Hemisphere joyfully ushering in Summer, we find ourselves receiving their music. Their content, Summer-ready, Festival-eyeing music. To think of the Brits whipping their shirts off when the thermometer hits 18 degrees is a sickening thought but the plethora of great records coming our way should soothe the pain. Over the next month we’ll be treated to comebacks, debuts and a track called Fucked My Way To The Top (thanks Lana). It’s going to busy, the headphones will hurt our ears but we’ll forget Winter ever laid its frosty hands upon us. Here are ten of the most mouth-watering (ear-watering?) releases scheduled for June.
13 June is the day when you will be able to set your ears upon the Klaxons’ third record. The Bassist of the band, Jamie Reynolds told NME, “We have arrived. On the first two albums, we were taking off and this one is us flying. We are there.” And it certainly seems so. The band lined-up an impressive array of people to work on this album including James Murphy, Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers, DJ/producer Erol Alkan and electro duo Gorgon City. The first tracks to surface off it, There Is No Other Time and Show Me A Miracle see the band embrace a more dance-orientated sound so you best get your best boogying shoes out.
Fresh from being the headlining act at the Kimye wedding, Del Rey will release her second album on June 13. The ‘dark’ Ultraviolence features production from The Black Keys’ Dan Auberach and has been preceded by the singles, West Coast and Shades of Cool. We can confirm that the album cover is the actual cover and not a casual holiday snap. We can also confirm that the tracklist is far more exciting than the cover. Fucked My Way Up to the Top and Money Power Glory have us putting faith in this record.
With their last album, Velociraptor, Kasabian went from quirky, alt-rock band to arena-fillers. They’re set to capitalise on that status with a headline set at Glastonbury and a new album. Oddly, it looks like 48:13 will step back from the arena-sound. It’s been described by the band as ‘stripped-back’, ‘bare’ and ‘direct’. The first single, Eez-eh is groovy and chaotic bound by a dictator-like vocal and travelling beat. It’ll be an interesting one, you can count on that. 13 June is when you can hear it, just in time for a mighty Glasto show.
You may know Alexis Taylor from a little dance collective called Hot Chip. If so, then you’ll know his partner in crime, Joe Goddard, is constantly off producing and remixing everything under the sun, so Taylor has decided to pop out his second solo-album in the meantime. It’s set to be released on 13 June in Australia and features the two previously released tracks, Elvis Has Left The Building and Without A Crutch (2). If you pulled your boogy shoes out for Klaxons, put them back away for this one. It’ll be a demure but rewarding set.
British band Glass Animals set hearts-a-flutter when they visited Australia in April. Many of the shows sold out off the back of the wildly successful, Gooey. They also cranked out a pretty special cover of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown for Triple J’s Like A Version with frontman Dave Bayley sending girls gaga with his oddball voice. Since then, they’ve released the tropical flavoured, Pools and are now readying the release of ZABA. It’s geared for release on 3 June.
Mr. White has pulled out all the stops in the lead-up to the release of his second solo album. On Record Store Day he set the record for the world’s fastest recording when he delivered the title track in less than four hours. Then, last week, he called his former half of the White Stripes and ex-wife, Meg White, the “antithesis of a modern drummer” while he himself was called an “asshole” by The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney. Such is the life of a rockstar, I guess, and any bad press is good press in the lead-up to an album. If you know Jack White, you’ll no doubt already have guessed the sound of Lazaretto– howling vocals, raucous guitars and other bluesy instrumentation. We’ll be able to confirm that when it’s released on 6 June.
Sweden’s not often the first place you look for Folk music with an Americana twang, but this duo is doing a damn fine job at it. Stay Gold is the third album from the pair, following on from their 2012 breakout The Lion’s Roar. The first two singles, My Silver Lining and Cedar Lane suggest that they won’t be changing up the sound too much, but it’s sure to be another beautifully harmonic and melodic record. The record is out on 6 June while they’ll be down under in July for Splendour in the Grass.
After a balmy Summer, June is going to get cold. During those nights, you’ll need an album to accompany you. Look no further than Familiars. This is the Brooklyn band’s first release since 2011’s sprawling Burst Apart and it’s shaping up to be just as profound. If the first two singles, Palace and Hotel are anything to go by, it’s going to be an emotional one with tip-toeing keys, short jabs of brass and haunting melodies. Prepare to weep on 20 June.
Poor ol’ Tom Krell looks sad on the album cover for What Is The Heart? And judging by the album title and first two singles, he probably is. Somewhat sadistically, it’s good news for us because the music he’s churning out is A+. Taking cues from late ’90s/early millenium RnB, Repeat Pleasure and Words I Don’t Remember are melancholic strokes of genius. It won’t be a barrel of laughs, but you’re not meant to be happy in Winter anyway, right? Get personal with Krell, 20 June.
Remi is the next big name of Australian hip-hop. His debut cut, Sangria, had Triple J audiences giddy, taking out Triple J Unearthed’s 2013 Award. It’s the feature album all this week on Triple J and from what we’ve heard so far it’s a raw yet politically and socially-charged listen, touching on everything from racism to drug-culture. Hear whether the Melbourne MC has delivered on the hype on 3 June.
Also I’ll just gloss over the fact that Ed Sheeran, 50 Cent and 360 also have records coming out. These are very much avoidable. Please read, listen and buy the above. Your P.I.M.P days are far behind you.