For the 8 or so people who read this blog on the regular, you’ll likely be aware of my affection for all things Oceanic, primarily New Zealand and Australia. So, with year end lists in mind, I thought I’d offer up my personal takes on the best tunes to come out of the area in 2017. There’s no particular order, just my sixteen favorites of the year.
There’s even a fun little playlist at the bottom for you to enjoy!
I’m a huge fan of Good Morning, and if you need an introduction, I suggest grabbing their compilation of EPs that just recently saw a release from Bedroom Suck Records. Today we’re happy to share with you two songs, united in the below clip as one. If you’re a fan of the group, you’ve likely heard these tracks before, but now, they’re ready for the whole world to enjoy. The subtle joy of “Step Aside” fades right into the more meandering pop of “Oppsie” right at the 3:06 mark, with both illustrating the sensible pop that I’m known to fawn over. If you like what you hear, you can grab the new single from Bedroom Suck Records now.
Members of two of my favorites, Methyl Ethyl and Pond have formed to create Hamjam, and the sounds they’ve crafted together are quite delightful. They’ve got that subdued pop vibe, casual in its delivery, infectious in every way. There’s a nice little tone switch for the chorus, aided by accenting piano and saxophone; these are smooth jams for pop fans with refined tastes. The band will be releasing their debut A/S/L? on August 11th via Bedroom Suck Records, adding to an already strong stable of Aussie acts!
I love to fawn over Aussie acts, as the world probably knows, and lately, I’ve taken to enjoying the work of Treehouse. The band is letting us share this playful video, which might be the perfect introduction to the group…if you’ve yet to have them cross your radar. Musically, “Hammer on the Door” almost holds onto a dreamy quality, allowing the guitar work to walk the fine line between heavy alternative and jangling pop music. The vocals are a touch more impassioned, always ramshackle, creating a nice dose of tension between the brooding pop sensibility and a near-live quality. You’ll be able to grab a copy of the band’s forthcoming Centre of Their World EP on 12″ vinyl courtesy of Bedroom Suck Records; it’s being released on April 28th, and preorders can be grabbed HERE.
Blank Realm haven’t released anything new since they dropped Illegals in Heaven in 2015, but perhaps something is on the horizon. Our first hint is the new single they’ve tossed into the Split Singles Club courtesy of Milk! Records and Bedroom Suck Records. This has an old-school vibe to it, almost as if one of the Britpop forefathers opted to come out of retirement to bring us this skittering little club burner. You can subscribe to get more of the singles in a limited 7″ series HERE, or just enjoy a glimpse at the great music going on at the moment overseas…we’ll do our best to keep pointing you in the right direction.
I’m not typically one to get into the reissue game, as far as posting goes, but I feel like Australia’s Good Morning has been vastly overlooked…though I pointed them out here long ago. Luckily, the good folks over at Bedroom Suck Records will be re-releasing the band’s Shawcross and Glory EPs on one 12″, with additional singles like the delightful pop tune lurking on the pages below. To me, this feels like what’s really going on down in Australia, offering sublime pop sensibility in a casual manner that begs for listen after listen. Look to get your hands on a copy come July 7th.
The muddied, angular guitars working atop each other in the opening moments of this new Treehouse track grabbed me immediately, circling like a vulture as the vocals were delivered in a very matter of fact manner. Drums pound and build the setting for emphatic vocals bursts that come amidst the musical chaos. These Tasmanians grind out the tune, choosing to leave listeners with one final vocal barrage in the song’s later half. Lots of promise here for sure; look for the band’s Centre of Their World EP to his via the uber reliable Bedroom Suck Records on April 28th.
Since late last year, Dag has been pretty high on my musical radar. The band crafts this dreamily discordant rock n’ roll. It’d be easy to toss this act in the bin with the rest of their Oceanic peers, but there are some things that stick out to my ears that elevate the sound on Benefits of Solitude. You’ll hear some little bits of noise, be it squawking horns or string instruments stretched to the maximum of their tones. “Exercise” and “Guards Down” have to wear the badge of lead singles, but while those offer more swinging energy, don’t skip on some of the more subdued numbers like “Company” or “JB,” — the latter sounds a great deal like Tim Kasher. You might even just jump right in with my favorite, “Staying Up at Night.” Clearly, one run through, and you’ll find textured indie rock begging for repeated plays, so be sure to guarantee your listening by buying it from Bedroom Suck Recordsthis Friday
I don’t know how the Aussie folks do it, but Dag is just another group in the long line of hitmakers coming across the sea. This particular tune seems to hit some discordant notes, only forcing you to focus more closely on the song’s construction…well-played. The casual attitude is perfect for the verses, wearing a heavy male vocal; it’s joined by a female counterpart during the choruses, which kicks up the endearing factor ten fold. This tune appears on the band’s new LP, Benefits of Solitude, and it should only be a matter of time before the rest of the States start clamoring for these guys; look for the LP on February 24th via Bedroom Suck Records.
In keeping with a bit of our Australian focus today, we’ve got another tune from Dag to toss out into the world. A short and sweet number, calmly flowing with deep vocal tones from the start. As the song moves along there’s a little bit of back and forth between male and female vocalists, keeping the harmony centralized as you tap your feet along to the track’s end. The usage of string arrangements in the background adds a really nice touch to boot, so give it a listen while you await Benefits of Solitude, which hits on February 24th via Bedroom Suck Records.