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.
I love the way this new Beaches song starts out, as if it we’re hearing an old faded sample come into play…but then drums kick in and the track takes off into a fuzzy blissed pop number. There’s a softness to the vocals, built with a pop reinforcement via the occasional entry of “ooh ooh ooh”s. This Aussie bunch know how to balance their heavy distortion with their pop sensibility, which is perhaps why they’ve signed on to work with one of the great Australian labels, Chapter Music. Look for their double LP, Second of Spring, on September 8th.
Today, news made its way from Australia that Beaches will be releasing their new double album, Second of Spring; accompanying the announcement was this driving swirl of psych rock that should definitely alert you to your next favorite act. From the get go the band pushes the heavy pace, waiting for the vocals to carefully enter the picture. I like how the focus is on the song’s emotive powers; the lyrics are good and well, but they almost seem an afterthought as you hear stabbing electronic beats and varying layers of guitars drag you into your speakers. Look for the new record to hit on September 8th via Chapter Music.
People have been listing their favorite albums of the year a lot lately, and while I get that, we haven’t even heard the new record from the Stevens. Today we have their second single from the forthcoming Good, and it’s the perfect blend of their discordant moments and their pop leanings. Twanging guitars ring, rhythms take on a dark swing and it leaves us all with a great deal of hope for a brilliant release. Chapter Music will be releasing Good on July 14th, so be on the lookout for the next hit record of 2017.
School Damage is one of the latest additions to the Chapter Music roster, and the label always has their finger on the pulse in Meblbourne’s thriving scene. Bits of keyboard give the song a feeling of “wobbly” pop, but it’s the frantic pace of the percussion that provides an energetic push. You can hear faint little guitar notes too, jittering behind the front of the mix; it’s just weird enough to keep you inthe cool, but pop enough to make you come back for more. Look for the band’s self-titled LP to hit on June 2nd.