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!
Thigh Master has been high on my list of Aussie imports this year, and they just announced a forthcoming split with Dag (another of my favorites) for December. Those familiar with any of the previously managed bands will surely enjoy this track, as it walks that line between angular guitar and haphazard melody. To me, the band just embrace their own musical inclinations, even with slight tonal imperfections; this is what Pavement would have sounded like had they just gone out to have a grand old time. This split 7″ will drop on Bruit Direct Disques come the end of December.
Since late last year, Dag has been pretty high on my musical radar. The band crafts this dreamily discordant rock n’ roll. It’d be easy to toss this act in the bin with the rest of their Oceanic peers, but there are some things that stick out to my ears that elevate the sound on Benefits of Solitude. You’ll hear some little bits of noise, be it squawking horns or string instruments stretched to the maximum of their tones. “Exercise” and “Guards Down” have to wear the badge of lead singles, but while those offer more swinging energy, don’t skip on some of the more subdued numbers like “Company” or “JB,” — the latter sounds a great deal like Tim Kasher. You might even just jump right in with my favorite, “Staying Up at Night.” Clearly, one run through, and you’ll find textured indie rock begging for repeated plays, so be sure to guarantee your listening by buying it from Bedroom Suck Recordsthis Friday
I don’t know how the Aussie folks do it, but Dag is just another group in the long line of hitmakers coming across the sea. This particular tune seems to hit some discordant notes, only forcing you to focus more closely on the song’s construction…well-played. The casual attitude is perfect for the verses, wearing a heavy male vocal; it’s joined by a female counterpart during the choruses, which kicks up the endearing factor ten fold. This tune appears on the band’s new LP, Benefits of Solitude, and it should only be a matter of time before the rest of the States start clamoring for these guys; look for the LP on February 24th via Bedroom Suck Records.
In keeping with a bit of our Australian focus today, we’ve got another tune from Dag to toss out into the world. A short and sweet number, calmly flowing with deep vocal tones from the start. As the song moves along there’s a little bit of back and forth between male and female vocalists, keeping the harmony centralized as you tap your feet along to the track’s end. The usage of string arrangements in the background adds a really nice touch to boot, so give it a listen while you await Benefits of Solitude, which hits on February 24th via Bedroom Suck Records.
Well, there goes the rest of my day! I just happened to stop by Bedroom Suck Records, looking to see what they’ve been up to, and lo and behold new song from Dag. Dammit if it’s not just a great little bit of a swinging pop jam. I mean, it definitely has an Aussie feel to it, but I like the added pieces in the background like the strings that work against the songs natural swinging stomp. The band have a debut album titled Benefits of Solitude coming out in February, but while we wait, can we not just celebrate the genius of this track?
Plus, you can visit the band and find some early versions of this track and some others I feel that will make their way onto the new LP.