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!
This may be yesterday’s news, but the song is too perfect not to share. Marlon Williams has a new album coming out on Dead Oceans, and he’s shared a new video for the lead single, “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” which features vocals from Aldous Harding. Just when you thought that Williams’ vocals couldn’t get any more soulful and moving, you add that extra level of Aldous Harding to the top and you get something so beautiful and perfect that you’ll want to drown in the sound all day. Simple, yet sweeping, the track puts the vocals at the center, letting them creep over you like fog. Take a peek at the video below and then get excited forMake Way For Love, which will be out February 16 of next year.
Shame signs to Dead Oceans with a ton of UK hype behind them. It’s definitely going to be interesting hearing out the rest of the band’s tunes come across; this single’s great, but you could see an album of like-minded tracks wearing you out. It works around a bit of call-and-response punk ethos, though you can clearly hear that the band has a pop-centric focus…be it in the chorus or in some of the guitar sounds. It’s a good introduction, but we’ll hold out on full fandom until their debut drops in 2018.
Kane Strang‘s debut album for Dead Oceans is really high on my list of things to look forward to this year, and today he’s dropped another video to tease us. This song is a subtle number, built mostly around the building of emotion…and its eventual release. Kane strums the guitar during the verses, then erupts into a shimmering bit of pop for the chorus. Something about the structure here reminds of really early Ben Kweller, just spun slightly in a more modern approach. It’s pop rock for those holding on to being cool…Two Hearts and No Brain will help keep us all cool on June 30th.
Kane Strang was high up on my list of must-see artists at SXSW this year, and I was fortunate enough to catch him a couple of times. He has this ability to take the modern indie stylings of Oceanic pop and combine them with really infectious hooks; I heard a lot of nods to early Weezer in his performance. That being said, this song holds steady during the verses, offering a slight energy pick up, which quickly turns into an airy pop dosage that fades with the closing of the song. I promise you that his new album, Two Hearts and No Brain, will be something to make your musical world a better place; it hits on June 30th via Dead Oceans.
It sounds as if Kevin Morby is venturing into territory resigned for poets, and with this new single, it sounds like he’s doing so with great success. The musical accompaniment to his lyrics/voice is pretty minimal…using trickling little notes and really light percussive taps. Sure, there’s a really slight pick up near the song’s end, but this track serves notice that great tracks don’t always need expansive music to accompany them, and perhaps the quietest tracks are the loudest. Morby will be dropping his latest, City Music, on June 16th via Dead Oceans, surely furthering our infatuation with his craft.
In the last few weeks, Dead Oceans announced they’ll be releasing Alex Lahey‘s B-Grade University EP. You take that, and great quality music, and there’s going to be some buzz for Alex when she comes into Austin in a few weeks. We caught up with her to have her answer our SXSW questionnaire. Click on to read her responses and check her latest video! Read more
Kane Strang is a hot ticket on my computer, and on my upcoming SXSW schedule. Today this new track came our way with a hint at what’s to come from his next album. I love how the tones on the vocals are high in the first half of the tune, then they switch to deeper tones as the music takes on a different mood. His ability to switch within the confines of the track makes his music quite memorable, and refreshing in that it doesn’t sit in one place. Dead Oceans will be releasing his next album this Fall, so start your anticipation with this new jam. Reminds me of a New Zealand influenced Pinback.
Yea, I know Bleached is a big deal, so you’ve probably been informed that they’ve released a new track. If you passed over that blip of news, perhaps you should use this as an excuse to sit down with “Can You Deal” and then prepare to stand right back up so that you can dance to your teenage hearts’ content. This track is a whirlwind of quick-lipped lyrics and ferocious guitars that is hard to get out of your head once you’ve let it in. I’m digging the catchy chorus, which has the right attitude to get you out of bed in the morning and face the day, guns’ blazing.
The EP that this track is taken from will be out March 3rd, alongside the “Can You Deal” Zine, which the band is releasing and contributing all profits to Planned Parenthood. Go buy one.
After waiting almost 22 years, we can all finally rejoice that there’s new Slowdive music coming our way. The band reunited in 2014 to get some things going for reunion shows, sparking that creativity that has led them to sign with Dead Oceans. If this song’s swelling wall of guitars sounds familiar, well, that’s because they’re just one of the staples of indie rock that so many after them have ripped off. I look forward to what’s coming from these guys, so stay tuned to hear what’s next. Hope they can help make 2017 just a touch brighter.