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!
Not too long ago I ran a Wireheads tune that was infectious and gritty, illustrating that the cool knows know bounds in Australia. Now we’re back with a new hit from the band, though this time they take more of a arty post-rock vibe. This tune’s more like a vocal barrage with the musical accompaniment jangling in almost as an afterthought. Blasts of squalling chords jump through in the aftermath of vocal delivery, and you’ve got your ears pinned back waiting for what’s next. What’s next? The band release Lightning Ears on October 20th via Tenth Court.
Initially I was digging this new track from Wireheads because of the way the guitars kicked in right off the bat. They had that scuzzy vibe, though rooted in classic rock n’ roll. Still, the Aussie drawl of the vocals really grabbed me, at times indifferent, yet infectious, especially when the female vocal accompaniment joins in to support. The band will be releasing their fourth LP, Lightning Ears, via Tenth Court; it might just be the energetic rocker that breaks through to your listening rotation.
There are some artists who march to their own drum, and Orlando furious is one such act. Typically they work with samples and iPad apps to craft beat driven vibes, though this new tune is built around the backbone of an acoustic guitar sample, looped in with a warbling affect that may be disoriented. It’s a warped trip through the wonderful world of outsider pop, and the accompanying video only guarantees that status for OF, willing to craft music on terms they define. Tenth Court will be releasing Named Feelings, the new LP featuring “Rage” in early 2018, so stay tuned for more. Buy/stream the tune HERE.
I’m always locked in on what’s happening in the Australia neck of the woods, and Wireheadshave popped up previously, though their next LP is promised to be their best work to date (it was recorded by Calvin Johnson). There’s something about the way the guitar is strummed in the front of the mix, while a echo-y drum pounds in rhythm to moving piano lines. If you’re listening closely, you can definitely hear the lineage of Aussie poetic delivery…makes me fawn nostalgically. They’ll be releasing Lightning Ears on October 20th via Tenth Court…but sample this gem in anticipation of another great Oceanic pop release.
Just recently we were alerted to the first Small World Experience LP in a really really long time! Today we’ve got a great video from one of the album’s standout tunes, “Daily Grind.” The song itself recalls those days of no bullshit guitar pop, the sort where folks turned the mundane into the endearing (TV Personalities come to mind for some reason). That fits the video’s image too, offering a casual day in the life of our protagonist-songwriter. Soft Knocks has been released unto the world via Tenth Court/The Business, begging for you to discover its secret joys.
Here we are with yet another exciting number from Australia, this side from the lo-fidelity popstars, Small World Experience. They’ve been quiet since 1998, though their album Shelf Life has recently seen the reissue treatment. Here we have this video of the band’s single “Crash Crush” starring a cat on his daily routine. Musically, there’s this lovely underbelly of warm pop, slightly muddled by the band’s recording approach, putting the vocals at the same levels as the music working behind it. Something about the guitar sound feels familiar, almost perfect for our own daily routines. Look for the release of Soft Knocks on June 23rd via Tenth Court (AUS) and The Business (US).