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!
Totally Mild was one of the group’s I listed as an act to keep an eye on during SXSW last year; I caught them a handful of times myself. Recently they’ve signed on with Chapter Music, one of the great homes for Australia artist. All that said, this new song is super impressive, and I’m reveling in the fact that it employs these little guitar stabs that recall early days in the jangle scene; they do move on in a dreamier style, complimented by Elizabeth Mitchell’s sultry delivery. Her sounds likes it’s filled with great songs; it will be released on February 23rd of next year.
Montero just dropped this gem of a tune, filled to the brim with musical touchstones. In his vocals, you can certainly hear the prog structures of yore swelling to the top, almost wizardly at times. But, one listen to the chorus and you’re going to be alright…those notes assure it. Musically, there’s some stomp, some squawk and synths painting the soundscape in a captivating wash of pop. A new album is said to be in the works for Chapter Music, dropping sometime in 2018.
Another day and another tune from Beaches to get us through the day. The guitar work on this track immediately stuck out to me, carrying a sentiment similar to Teenage Fanclub, just slightly a bit heavier. The vocals soar angelically, almost as if they’ve been added as another layer…it’s all about those huge riffs. Still, they provide plenty of balance to the song, allowing the group’s pop sensibility to peak through the clouds. Their new album, Second of Spring, will be released on September 8th via Chapter Music.