The Aussie quartet School Damage are about to unleash their second LP into the world, and with it, perhaps we’ll finally have a handle on the band’s brand of wobbly pop music. When listening, the sharp guitars ringing blend with the sound of keys, while the rhythm section spins you out of control. Hooks come by the way of the vocals, with this particular song getting quite a few “na na nas” up in your ears. If you like your punk rock a little bit left of the dial, a little bit spirited and far more weird, then you’re going to love A to X; it drops on August 31st via Chapter Music. Check out the stop-animation video below…created by the band’s own Carolyn Hawkins.
The Australian music scene is more than just those bright ringing guitars, so today we’ll turn our attention to the beautiful croon of Gregor. He’s preparing to release his debut album, and he’s shared this subtle number; it’s little more than voice, bass groove and a wash of keyboard sounds. It feels like a late night walk through a brightly lit street, capturing elements of darkness and light all at once; it’s pretty intoxicating upon repeat listens. The chorus barely steps out of line with the song, but you’ll notice a slight tonal change that only adds to the emotive power. Silver Drop is being released on October 5th via Chapter Music.
I feel like The Goon Sax should be one of the great bands of our age, yet they still have so much potential to grow. On their latest single, they’re taking their angular pop stylings and turning painting them with a broader pop brush. There’s an accent from the cowbell to add some step, but the chorus has swelling strings and horns blasting through. It’s enchanting, yet cautiously energetic; you’ll have this song running through your head all day. The band’s new album We’re Not Talking will be out on September 14th via Wichita Recordings.
In 2016, The Goon Sax were a bunch of young Australians who delivered one of our favorite albums, Up to Anything. A lot of folks have been waiting in the wings with the promise of new tunes…and today is that day! We get a fresh track, employing a similar tactic to their early work, though there seems to be depth. I’m a sucker for the deep bass grooves, not to mention the mixture of steady vocals and their female counterpoints. Infectious guitar pop anyone? Yes, please! The band will be releasing We’re Not Talking on Wichita Recordings/Chapter Music on September 14th.
Having written about Totally Mild quite a bit as of late, I think their latest single might be one of my favorite tracks from their new record, Her. It’s presented with this chilled guitar line reminiscent of many like-minded Aussie acts. But, rather than pigeonhole themselves by sounding like all the rest, Elizabeth Mitchell owns the hour with her striking vocal performance just after the 1 minute mark; I love the way her voice rises, drops off, then reaches even higher. It’s hard not to listen to this track and see the band as something quite special, something to hang your hat on in 2018; look for the new LP on February 23rd via Chapter Music.
It’s looking more and more likely that Australian artist Montero is going to find a broader base when he releases his new record. Luckily for us, the accompanying videos for this new album have been nothing short of remarkable, with this addition created by Sean McAnulty being added to that category. Atop of the visual concept, the music also speaks a to the lofty goals that Ben Montero has been able to create; this song has this magical quality, almost like space glam. It’s pop music swelling with emotion, dripping with creativity and layered with vocals that make us all part of the show. Look for Performer to hit on February 2nd via Chapter Music.
There is already a horde of great albums coming our way in 2018, but one of the one’s at the top of my list is the new record from Totally Mild (they’ll also be in attendance at this year’s SXSW). The group just released their new video for “Lucky Stars,” which is dominated by the performance of songwriter Elizabeth Mitchell. Her voice is powerful, with just a hint of fragility on some of the notes left hanging; she’s all alone in the video with her piano, furthering her role as an incredible force that will surely be heard all over the rest of the year. Look for Her to be released on February 23rd via Chapter Music.
We’ve already covered our Best of Oceania for 2017, but something I’m already penciling in will be the newest album from Totally Mild. This new single is strikingly bare, but in that, it delivers the powerful emotional connection listeners seek; it’s almost as if we’re sitting in the drawing room of Elizabeth Mitchell while she works on a newly penned tune. It’s impressive with how memorable this song is, despite employing piano and vocals as the key element; Mitchell’s performance will fill your room through your speakers. Look for the band’s new LP, Her, on February 23rd via Chapter Music.
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!
Montero has just announced his next album, Performer, for Chapter Music…so you know we’re already going to commit to enjoying it. Luckily, the song’s pretty special, living in the world where dream pop and psychedelia mingle at the bar. There’s even a funkiness to the opening moments, setting Ben Montero’s work apart from many of his Aussie peers. He even created the animated video below, and it’s difficult to tell which came first, the video or the song; they seem to match so well, it’s hard not to see them as one whole. The record drops on February 2nd of next year, so keep your eyes peeled!