The world is an absolute mess right now. Assuredly so. But, one good thing we’ve slowly started to see is the great music being crafted in this solitude. Today, for instance, our friends at Chapter Music have gathered 14 tracks for a new compilation titled Midnight Meditations; the goal is “to help listeners through long dark nights of the soul.” My first few runs through, and I’m drawn to the R. Edwards (of Dick Diver) track quite a bit. But, just as I say that, I get another run through of label founder Guy Blackman and his number is pretty striking too! I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out the special performance by Sarah Mary Chadwick too. Honestly, there isn’t a single song worthy skipping here. Feel like your soul needs musical accompaniment on its daily journal? Maybe it will find solace in these 14 songs.
It’s never a bad thing when you can get Kathleen Hanna and Ad Rock to support your work, though I don’t much think that Thibault need that hype machine because this new single is pretty special. It’s both nostalgic and timeless, transporting the listener into this dreamy smoke filled bedroom in the 60s; the arrangements behind the vocals definitely hold the song in the present, from the horns to the electronic workings behind the rise and fall of the vocals. If I were to collect the perfect snippet from this track, I think the rise and fall of the “ahh” in the chorus is a sublime musical moment. Search in the lyrics to find a common global thematic element, as Nicole wrote the song in response to her struggles to get unemployment services during this pandemic. Or Not Thibault will be out on September 4th via the revered folks at Chapter Music.
Thanks to my on-going infatuation with Australia’s Chapter Music, I’ve had Sweet Whirl on my radar for a hot minute, but today she announces How Much Works, her debut LP…and she does so in striking fashion. I remarked last time I covered a tune from the project how powerful Esther Edquist’s voice was, and here, it sounds even more assured than a year ago; it’s bolder somehow, carrying the weight of the song as piano and atmospherics collide into one another. The sparseness of the song allows the emotion to tear through your speakers and hits you across the face. This new LP will be out on March 29th.
A great deal of my childhood was spent listening to my father’s folk collection, and perhaps that, more than any other memory, will be our legacy. I mention this as Esther Edquist aka Sweet Whirl seems steeped in the rich history of folk music; her powerful voice has this faint quiver in it, something that reminds me of Harris or Baez. The track’s arrangement definitely aid to the songs depth, though those bits seem careful to stay out of the way when necessary. It’s a striking voice, and, for me, a striking introduction to the newest Australian export to land on Chapter Music; the label will release Love Songs & Poetry on May 3rd.
While Chapter Music might be best known in the States for their excellent guitar oriented tastes, they have a deep catalog, with several club acts that need your attention. The label’s latest signing Honey 2 Honey, is one such act, offering dance-inflected RnB tunes. Their first single is this steady groove that builds atop itself as it moves along; it sort of teases out additional notes as it moves forward, though I respect the amount of space left in the track. The vocals are deep and heavy, intoxicating in their own way (which I guess can match the song’s title?). Those of you who are way into James Murphy might want to spend some quality time with this one. The band will release their A Taste Of EP via Chapter on April 5th.
A little over a month ago we brought you the first single from Gregor; it was a smoothed out pop gem with an electronic background. This outing, Gregor utilizes reggae-style guitar chops to provide a natural rhythm to the song; it automatically gives the song a light quality that is sure to woo listeners. Of course, his voice has this Aussie/British affectation that you can picture crooning in some old school barroom during karaoke hour. The finer touches, such as the added guitar line between verses elevates this song immediately into the front of my playlist. Look for Silver Drop on October 5th via Chapter Music.
This Goon Sax tune dropped on the Internet yesterday, but I was working at the real job and such, so wasn’t able to get to it quite yet…until this morning! Admittedly, it’s one of my favorite tunes off of their new LP, so I had extra encouragement. I love how the track opens up with vocals working over a percussive loop and quiet piano chords. Then it switches, with an acoustic guitar strum accompanying the male vocals; I wasn’t completely sold, however, until drummer Riley joins the vocal fray for a powerful verse. The youthful attachment was shed for me on this song, as it showed me a great maturity I might not even have been expecting. We’re Not Talking drops on September 14th via Wichita Recordings/Chapter Music.
The Aussie quartet School Damage are about to unleash their second LP into the world, and with it, perhaps we’ll finally have a handle on the band’s brand of wobbly pop music. When listening, the sharp guitars ringing blend with the sound of keys, while the rhythm section spins you out of control. Hooks come by the way of the vocals, with this particular song getting quite a few “na na nas” up in your ears. If you like your punk rock a little bit left of the dial, a little bit spirited and far more weird, then you’re going to love A to X; it drops on August 31st via Chapter Music. Check out the stop-animation video below…created by the band’s own Carolyn Hawkins.
The Australian music scene is more than just those bright ringing guitars, so today we’ll turn our attention to the beautiful croon of Gregor. He’s preparing to release his debut album, and he’s shared this subtle number; it’s little more than voice, bass groove and a wash of keyboard sounds. It feels like a late night walk through a brightly lit street, capturing elements of darkness and light all at once; it’s pretty intoxicating upon repeat listens. The chorus barely steps out of line with the song, but you’ll notice a slight tonal change that only adds to the emotive power. Silver Drop is being released on October 5th via Chapter Music.
I feel like The Goon Sax should be one of the great bands of our age, yet they still have so much potential to grow. On their latest single, they’re taking their angular pop stylings and turning painting them with a broader pop brush. There’s an accent from the cowbell to add some step, but the chorus has swelling strings and horns blasting through. It’s enchanting, yet cautiously energetic; you’ll have this song running through your head all day. The band’s new album We’re Not Talking will be out on September 14th via Wichita Recordings.