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!
Ciggie Witch has long been an outlet for Ocean Party member Zac Denton, but on the work for the group’s newest album, they took a more collaborative approach to the recording. In the end, it leaves listeners with a completed sound…details are fleshed out, space is filled…but pop sensibility is ever present. For instance, take the exuberant explosion that jumps off around the 3 minute mark, which comes after a brief interlude of stark guitar work. It continues to amaze me how consistently good these guys are; some artists are prolific to their own detriment, but as Zac and his pals illustrate, there’s not a bad track this round. Mad Music will be released by Lost and Lonesome next Friday (10/13).
We’ve previously discussed how excited we are for Last Leaves debut full length; I’m hoping it fills the void the Locksmiths left when they called it a day on that project. Better news, especially for vinyl heads is that the band’s labels, Matinee/Lost and Lonesome are releasing a very limited 7″ with the below gem being the star. The front end of this song has a jangling shuffle to it, but as the track progresses, it takes on a melodic groove that rides to the end. This is going to be a super limited release, so just be forewarned that it’s going to go real quick!
Every once in a while you stumble into an album you were looking forward to, and you’re proven right…every note hits, every track wins you over. Time Catches Up with Milk Teddy, the new album from the Aussie outfit is one such LP. I’ve already posted gems like “Rock n’ Roll Cretin” and “Sweet Bells Jangled,” but there’s not a misplaced tune on this record; it’s honestly some of the best guitar pop I’ve heard come out this year. If you’re searching for a record that’s going to impress your friends with your great taste, then introduce them to Milk Teddy. The LP is available now from Lost and Lonesome!
I don’t know too much about Milk Teddy, aside from their 2012 LP; they’ve been fairly quiet up until the last few months. Today I get to share with you the news that they’ll be releasing their new record, Time Catches Up with Milk Teddy, on August 18th via Lost and Lonesome. This song has these lofty vocal dancing high notes, reminding me in a strange way of the Glands…it just exudes happiness and spirituality, whether intentional or not. Hiding behind those vocals are these jangling dream guitar chords that perfectly accent the high vocal tones. This is simply special.
Sometimes you can’t explain the hit cycle and why some of the more deserving bands don’t end up on the hype machine. For me, I’m personally putting some hype onto Last Leaves (a predominantly Lucksmiths super group). They’ve just released this stand alone single via Matinee Recordings, adding to the earlier hit from Matinee Idols Comp; it’s a fuzzy bit of beautiful guitar pop. Vocals have this gentleness, calm and warm, and layers of guitars work on top of each other, only barely fighting against another to create enough tension to seduce listeners. This song will featured on the group’s Other Towns Than Ours, which is slated to arrive early this fall. You can also see a video accompanying this new tune right HERE.
Pregnancy is the the project of various members for Australian hit-makers like the Ocean Party, Totally Mild and Ciggie Witch. There’s a brooding no-wave vibe to the track, with vocals delivered in a matter-of-fact manner while guitar chords dance playfully in the background. While much of the track dwells in this manner, there’s a dreamy moment that closes out the track with just a hint of energy. If you’re looking for a solid day starter, then this track is the one for you. Look for the band’s debut album, Urgency, to drop on July 14th via Lost and Lonesome and Emotional Response.
If you skipped over Zingers back in the day, then perhaps this new single is the perfect introduction to Milk Teddy, especially as it comes with the announcement of a new LP. I’d filed it under casual pop, though the sort that could only come from an Aussie act. There’s a mixture of guitar sounds from cascading notes to strumming, all crossing over one another as careful synth notes highlightthe song’s natural melodies. This is the sort of song that you spin all day long, so keep a look out forTime Catches Up with Milk Teddy on August 18th via Lost and Lonesome.
Want to talk about a super group? Well, then you should meet Australia’s Pregnancy, featuring members for The Ocean Party, Totally Mild, Ciggie Witch and more. Our first introduction to the band has the group looking at angular dance-laden grooves, fronted by Zac Denton of The Ocean Party; he offers up a smoothed vocal that’s met in the background by Ashley Bundang. It’s an upbeat number with insatiable groove that promises excellence when the band release their debut later this year via Lost and Lonesome/Emotional Response.
Been hearing lots of good things coming from Hideous Towns and their Aussie camp, so I’m happy to share their latest single with you today. It’s a subdued bit of post-punk, focusing on the genres brooding melody as opposed to the angular frustration. For me, that allows a little bit more focus on the blasts that come from singer Alana West, such as “I need var-i-ety/inexplicable.” Listening in, you’re either going to focus on West or on the dreamy guitar lines swirling around, and thus you’ll come back to give your attention to the other side. In the end, you’ll walk away anticipating Disquiet Living, which comes out via Lost and Lonesome on December 2nd.