PVT – New Spirit
Thundercat – Drunk
Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana
Sun Kil Moon – Common As Love & Light Are Red Valleys Of Blood
Bing & Ruth – No Home Of The Mind
Dag – Benefits of Solitude
Sallie Ford – Soul Sick
Molly Burch – Please be Mine
Various Artists – Studio One Rocksteady Volume 2
PVT have always been a band to create cohesion from the music's ever-blurring boundaries. Starting life at the intersection of jazz and post-rock, they then took the freedom and extended reach inherent in both further in deploying electronics for cavernous, otherworldly results. In more recent years, pop melody has come into their focus and vocals along with it. On their latest album, New Spirit, the band have hit a sweet spot all their own between atmosphere and song. With a sense of the epic that Radiohead might be jealous of, New Spirit puts a digital kind of precision on Eastern and Western influences – mechanised, percussion-heavy Japanese pop from the 80s and its global outlook seems to be an inspiration – as the soundtrack for a vision of Australia and its own fizzing culture.
Sallie Ford is a new name to me, but she used to front a band from Portland, Oregon called The Sound Outside. On evidence of her new solo album, Soul Sick, I'm keen to check them out retrospectively. It's an absolutely buzzing and jumped-up set of songs, with cracking rockabilly-style stompers full of gritty guitars aplenty. Upfront of it all, Ford is happy to come off a little off the hook to give the raw feeling of her tunes an extra kick. Ironically, it's all quite self-deprecating, like each tune is an instalment in her going all the way down, but doing it with a real kick at each point.
The uber-bassist of choice for Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus – not to mention thrash-and-burn heavyweights Suicidal Tendencies – Thundercat has slowly drip-fed singles since mid last year from his new album Drunk, but he's got 23 tracks all up on the final product so there's plenty of gems fresh for the picking. You can feel the joy Thundercat (real name: Stephen Bruner) has with his music as well as the humour, but there's no mickey being taken out of the 80s style soft-rock cushioned well throughout Drunk. Soft-rock has been one of the mainlines of modern pop's retro obsessions, not to reinvent upon old sounds, but simply painting them with irony. Thundercat however wrings it to emotional ends in the way he has used heart to connect his fondness for hip hop, 70s funk, jazz and soul. It helps having Kenny 'Footloose' Loggins and The Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald on board, too.
Also this week, new tunes from Sydneysiders Alba, Dappled Cities, All Our Exes Live In Texas and Angie, global fusions from Mista Savona, soul newcomers The Jay Vons and Como Mamas, Spoon and the return after 20 years of 90s UK pop darlings, Ride.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Toby Martin – Songs From Northam Avenue
Life Will See You Now – Jens Lekman
Horrorshow – Bardo State
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
Tim Darcy – Saturday Night
Strand of Oaks – Hard Love
Sloppy Heads – Useless Smile
Sinkane – Life & Livin' It
Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now
Foam – Coping Mechanisms
Youth Group singer Toby Martin's second solo album was borne from a special project in collaboration with Sydney's Urban Theatre Projects, that saw Toby camp out across various front gardens and backyards in Blacktown to write in poetic observation about life in the western suburbs. The resulting Songs From Northam Avenue was recorded with diverse musicians from Vietnamese and Middle Eastern backgrounds and produced by drummer and percussionist extraordinaire Bree Van Reyk (Holly Throsby, Seeker Lover Keeper, Ensemble Offspring, Synergy) It's focus – the stories of Western Sydney in all its multicultural glory – is rarely seen in song these days and Martin finds a sweet balance between earthy and exotic, gently working a seamlessly beautiful and poignant line throughout.
Thankfully for Californian-born, Manchester-based Jesca Hoop, being a nanny to Tom Waits' children isn't the most interesting part of her CV. It was Waits and his wife and songwriting partner Kathleen Brennan that helped Hoop kickstart her own career in song and it was no mere favour for all those bedtime stories. Those two can pick an idiosyncratic talent when they see one and now four albums in with Memories Are Now just out she is breaking through on her own, especially after the gentle set of duets she did last year with Iron & Wine mainman man Sam Beam. Hoop's own work has a smoky and mysterious air about them that give them a compelling nature – think of a folkier Joan As Police Woman – but also have a singalong style to them that most couldn't pull off the way she does.
We're up to album number six for Sinkane, the project for London-based Sundanese multi-instrumentalist and producer Ahmed Gallab. You might however know Gallab better from his work in tribute to the recently-passed Nigerian artist William Onyeabor and his unique synth-powered Afro-funk music, clearly a great inspiration for Sinkane. Life and Livin' It has the kind of joyous outlook in pursuit of higher thinking and liberation where positivity and politics aren't mutually exclusive. Sound and vision match – a dreamy pop spin on the freewheeling African and funk sounds Gallab is in clear thrall to as well as the future-reaching Kraftwerk and their epic, spacey sense of rhythm and space. This is a melting-pot of serious vibes designed to have you set on a constant upswing of thought and feeling.
Any 90s post-rock fans out there? Math rock perhaps? There must be – Steve Albini's Shellac toured him to great crowds last year still hungry for that dynamic, exacting, angular rock sound they own and of course Mr Albini still makes a living recording bands looking to reproduce that particular precision-oriented thwack n' thump that HURTS SO GOOD. Well, look no further than Perth's Foam for your latest hit straight out of the playbook passed on by the likes of both Jesus Lizard and June of '44, hoisting up a hard edge with melody, sly groove and wry observational humour. The album's called Coping Mechanisms, after all.
Tim Darcy fronts US outfit Ought, but he wrote so many goddamn songs for their second album that he used the overflow to work towards his solo debut, now out and called Saturday Night. I'm not sure what Tim Darcy's Saturday nights are like but he must be interesting company when you consider he sounds like Roy Orbison grown up with the yearning kind of disaffection reserved for today's alienated lovelorn – or lovestruck. Then he's backed by a slightly more dapper version of The Velvet Undeground for his gritty pop stompers that allow him to come on all swish and gnarly at the same time. Yes, he's a modern crooner.
Also this week, new tunes from Paul White with Danny Brown, the return of beat guru Edan with hip hoppers Packs, KNX, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, new punk prodigies Plaster of Paris, Aldous Harding and The Cactus Channel & Sam Cromack.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Holly Throsby – After A Time
Biscotti – Like Heaven In The Movies
Brokeback Illinois River Valley Blues
Tinariwen – Elwan
Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Volume 1
Teen Daze – Themes For Dying Earth
Tobin Sprout – The Universe And Me
Dunes – Bedtime
Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood – Myths 002
Bedroom recordings these days are essentially omnipresent and done right they have their simple and immediate charms for indie pop devotees who like their melodies rough and ready with a little ingenuity that's often also slightly warped. When you get someone like Carla Ori – otherwise known as Melbourne's Biscotti – making a fantasy world from the 4-track, you're really in for a treat. Biscotti's debut album is titled Like Heaven In The Movies, and that's a big hint at her headspace on this record, creating her own pop world with giddiness and glee where some cracking DIY guitar numbers can happily sit alongside a mirthful mash-up of dub, disco, synth-pop and more than just a streak of spaghetti western soundtracks. It's a lot of fun but seriously good, too.
Brokeback, the fab project for Chicago's Douglas McCombs is now two decades in and back with a new album, Illinois River Valley Blues. It's as evocative and widescreen as you might expect from someone whose main gig is in Tortoise and also deeply personal in tracing around memories of growing up along the Illinois River spaning Peoria and Chicago. It's a sweet example of the kind of Americana fostered by the likes of Calexico, conjuring the eclectic sense of possibility from the country's open spaces with a kind of Western feel, elastic swing and cinematic Lynchian-style mood.
Last week we spoke about the immense amount of music being made in Africa and its incredible diversity as exposed through the Awesome Tapes From Africa blog and label. Honest Jon's is another label (co-run by one Damon Albarn) delving deep into this territory and now releasing the self-titled album from long-running Lagos, Nigeria outfit Obadikah. Obidikah have spiritual leanings and are essentially a group of friends who mostly perform in Baptist churches but you need not be in tow to any God to fully immerse yourself in their sound. They have an earth, rootsy take on the traditional brass band set-up with bubbling Afro-rhythms and easy-rolling jazz sensibilities with a tempo and feel akin to classic reggae.
Also this week, more new local tunes from Sydneysiders Gang of Youths, NSW coastal resident Brightness, Brisbane's Tom Cooney and Bendigo's Fountaineer plus an international crew featuring Mac De Marco, Jens Lekman and exciting electronic newcomer Sameed.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Priests – Nothing Feels Natural
Homeshake – Fresh Air
Sarah Belkner – But You Are, But It Has
Four Tet – There Is Love In You Remixes
Tim Cohen – Luck Man
Fancey – Love Mirage
Awa Poulo – Poulo Warrali
Oh No – Ultimate Breaks and Beats
Liam Gerner & The Sunset Pushers – Liam Gerner and the Sunset Pushers
Diazpora – Islands
Letherette – Where Have All The People Gone?
The tightly-coiled punk energy and garage-rock punch of Bikini Kill strikes hard on the full-length debut from Washington DC's Priests, but then so does the more sprawling ways of Sletaer-Kinney with the political fire to match. Nothing Feels Natural shows a band willing to take big bites out of the post-punk playbook and chew hard but spit out something fresh and vital once they're done. It's no coincidence they hail from the same city as the seminal Fugazi, who sprung dub and funk patterns with melodic smarts on a devoted audience ever-willing to take the ride. Whatever the influence, Priests ride high on invention and passion, indebted to the song first and foremost.
Awesome Tapes From Africa started as a blog trading on a very different kind of underground – African music released on cassette hawked by street vendors that unless you were there was extremely hard to discover and follow. Brian Shimkovitz, founder of Awesome Tapes From Africa, lived and studied in Ghana for a period and collecting these tapes became ritual for him, devouring highlife, synth-pop, disco and devotional music. He started the blog to share the sounds, but in more recent years, Shimkovitz has taken to releasing the African sounds he particularly loves to the wider western world and his latest unearthing is a display of rare beauty. Hailing from Mali, singer Awa Poulo's latest album Poulo Warrali is wholly beguiling with its tapestry of acoustic guitars and gentle rhythms that seem to float away like a butterfly you could never catch. Poulo's voice is commanding and compelling – she is a vital addition to anyone's love for music from the region.
Sarah Belkner has become a go-to musician and arranger for some of Australia's top-line talent, with Chet Faker, Ngaire and Sarah Blasko seeking out her various vocal and playing talents. She started releasing her own music as Miss Little making graceful vintage-style pop but since going under her own name has put a modern sheen on her intricate songs. Her debut But You Are, But It Has works the electronic-soul-pop hyrbid well with streaks of synth-funk and r n' b bounce, both angular and immediate though never succumbing to trite hooks. Belkner proves most canny on But You Are, But It Has, a bold, upfront work.
Also this week, top new tunes including the return of 90s indie-pop champions The Clouds, another Father John Misty folk-diatribe, Bayonne, Thundercat (with Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins no less), Big Thief, Future Islands, Anohni and another new local, Will Halliday.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Son Volt – Notes of The Blue
Botany – Raw Light II
Minor Victories – Orchestral Variations
Gabriel Garzon-Montano – Jardin
Kid Koala – Music To Draw To
Fleece – Voyager
Tornado Wallace - Lonely Planet
Eric Lau – Examples
Bash & Pop – Anything Could Happen
Various Artists – Macondo Revisitado: The Roots of Sub Tropical Music, Uruguay 1975 - 1979
Hip hop heads know the whipcracking mix and scratch style of turntable whizz Kid Koala from Canada all too well but the man acclaimed as one of the world's best behind the decks also does a neat sideline in graphic novels. As if he needed another string to his bow, for his latest project, Music To Draw To, the man known to his Mum and Dad as Eric San plays the instruments (piano, viola, bass) throughout and processes the sounds through his turntable set-up to make an ambient-pop album. It's gorgeously moody stuff and goes down slow in beautiful fashion, aided by the gossamer-light vocal tones of Iceland's Emiliana Torrini. With a gently spacey outlook, repeated listens make this more absorbing with each go round, such is the fine craft and detail on display. One of 2017's first big surprises.
Gabriel Garzon-Montano self-released an EP back in 2012, the result of a lot of planning and toil where he wrote and played every note. After barely making a dent with it outside of his Brooklyn base, everything changed for Garzon-Montano after Drake sampled his vocal and hook from one of the EP's tunes for his own track Jungle in 2016. That's big. He has since shrugged off being a snippet in someone else's hit parade with his debut album on the esteemed Stone's Throw label, Jardin. Beguilingly blending 70s style pop – think AM radio gold such as Todd Rundgren – with soul grooves sprung from the modern day, Jardin's songs also filter in hip hop and psych-tinged funk in sunny, rose-tinted harmony.
Tornado Wallace (it's unconfirmed that's his birth-name) is a producer from Melbourne who also spends quite a bit of time working in Berlin. What hoists him well above the ruck in that mecca for electronic music makers and heads is how he twists his sound more than tweaks it, constantly imaginative and inventive well past the point of the merely cool. His newest set is also his longest after a series of 12-inch singles, a mini-album called Lonely Planet that reportedly took four years to complete. With a rattling bottom end to reckon with, Wallace weaves wavey synth echoes through his signature heavy percussive tracks, both lush and breezy but cut with the right amount of heat to keep things nice and urgent.
Also this week, a veritable slew of singles: new tunes from Dirty Projectors, Emily Wurramarra, Father John Misty, Real Estate, Biscotti, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Oddissee and Peter Black.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Flo Morrissey & Matthew E White – Gentlewoman, Ruby Man
Bonobo - Migration
Foxygen – Hang
The xx – I See You
Ty Segall – Ty Segall
Mick Harvey – Intoxicated Woman
Half Japanese – Hear The Lions Roar
Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness
The Ocean Party – B-Grade Material
The Bats – The Deep Set
Sodastream – Little By Little
Welcome to SERvin' Up! for 2017 – our weekly new music in review.
It's early days for 2017 of course, but we've already been blessed with an album that'll surely still stand tall with its beautiful poise and elegance by year's end. The second album Julie Byrne, Not Even Happiness, works a very lush angle on folk simply through the enveloping feel she conjures from her velvet voice and dense fingerpicking. Byrne's sound is constantly hanging and wonderfully unanchored – no coincidence considering these songs revolve around ideas of transience, Byrne having moved around various states in the US before settling in Brooklyn last year.
If the weird in weird indie-pop is feeling a little too coiffured and commodified for you these days, you'll be happy to know the endearingly knotty Half Japanese have returned with album number 16. Counting the likes of Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth as lifelong fans – main member Jad Fair even recorded an album with Teenage Fanclub – Hear The Lions Roar is a super serve of their wild riffery couple with raw thought. It's an eccentricity dealt out with a bubblegum pop mindset so they're curiously cuddly at the same time.
Foxygen third album Hang is a crazy but consummate melodic blast from the Californian duo after their decidedly unhinged second We Are The Ambassadors of 21st Century Peace and Magic's songs faltered under the weight of studio wizardry. That hasn't stopped them working with a 40-piece symphony orchestra, not to mention Matthew E White plus members of The Flaming Lips and The Lemon Twigs. It's unashamedly vintage with a serious glam rock tilt, but the orchestral pop, gospel, psych-folk and doo wop flourishes make this a sweet knees-up – one that crazy old uncle of yours might rise from his sherry glass for.
Sodastream are a Melbourne duo who'll be more than familiar to local indie-folk fans of a certain vintage. (ie: the older ones) The pair enjoyed a nice cult following at a time when the rediscovery of the iconic Nick Drake's pastoral visions was peaking. Sodastream's own brand of gentle jazzy folk remains a lovely and airy delight on their first album in a decade, Little By Little. The vagaries of suburbia and its domestic day to day are lyrical staples of younger acts such as Twerps and Dick Diver, however Sodastream saw a magic in the everyday that may well have paid very well into those bands' own inspirations.
Also this week, new singles from Holly Throsby, Sinkane, Tame Impala player Cameron Avery, Nadia Reid, Chicano Batman, PVT, Spoon and the return of 90s shoegazing royalty Slowdive.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Monster Rally – Mystery Cove
Demdike Stare – Wonderland
Various Artists – Czech Up!
Joe Sampson – Chansons De Parade
Craig Hallsworth – What's The Story With This Hole?
Ras G – Baker's Dozen
Neil Young – Peace Trail
Alex Izenberg – Harlequin
Various Artists – Derek Harriott: Rock Steady 1966 – 1969
Often sounding like The Avalanches holidaying in Hawaii, producer Ted Feighan has been in lounge mode as Monster Rally for a number of years now with a steady stream of releases that now includes a fourth full-length, Mystery Cove. Sliding surf guitars cast out in dizzied loops against quirky shuffling beats and streaks of other exotic textures on Mystery Cove and it's another sweet delight.
The first new music in some time from twistedly unique UK production duo Demdike Stare continues their skewed interest in dancefloor sounds. Wonderland turns the club into a cavernous arena, with an approach that often sounds like Aphex Twin on steroids, with spooked, doomy sounds more aligned with metal or dark ambience ghosting its frenzied pulse. It's as magnetic as it is unrelenting though, encompassing a real revelation of disparate sounds to thrilling ends.
Perth's Hidden Shoal know how to uncover a quiet gem, and their latest is from a fellow who figures highly in Denver, Colorado's music scene, Joe Sampson. His album Chansons De Parade has a gentle folk stance in the vein of early Iron & Wine or those icons of contemplation, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. Chansons De Parade ultimately has a more overtly joyful outlook than all those three, conjuring a subdued sense of triumph in navigating the ways of life.
Czechoslovakian label Supraphon started business in the 50s and through the 60s and 70s amassed an amazing catalogue of music that moved from fuzzed-up soul to Afro-pop to Orchestra-psych all from local acts. The super Vampisoul label have dedicated themselves to surveys of the best bits and the first volume Czech Up! Is upon us. With over 60,000 tracks at Vampisoul's disposal, hold your hats – this is just the start of one wild ride.
Also, new tunes from Underground Lovers, Run The Jewels, Urthboy, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Slim Set, Jai Pyne, Bonobo, River Kid, Dag and Laura Marling.
This is the final New Music Review for 2016. We hope you continue to love what we bring you in 2017 and best of the season to you all!
Massive shout-out to Dennis De Caires for all his work this year for the New Music Review!
Coldcut – Only Heaven
Frida – I Want In Your Head
Anatomy Class – Tell Me What You See
Terry Dolan – Terry Dolan
Willie Lindo – Far & Distant
Hidden Orchestra – Wingbeats
Nightmares On Wax – Ground Floor
Hannah Williams & The Affirmations – Late Nights & Heartbreak
Letherette – Last Night On The Planet
Various Artists – Togo Soul
Highlighting a couple of reissues this week – Willie Lindo was a sought-after session guitarist in Jamaican reggae, working largely with great vocalists of the time like Marcia Griffiths and Ken Boothe. He made a few instrumental reggae albums and the first, Far & Distant from 1974 has just been reissued after being unavailable for decades. Far & Distant found him in super-cruisy mode, well removed from the heavy dub path many submerged their sound into, with a set of sweet skankin' rhythms and sunny soul. Soul really led the way for Lindo here, covering the likes of Gladys Knight and the Pips as well as Bobby Womack and just shines through.
Terry Dolan moved to San Francisco in the late 60s and became quite a figure in its folk scene, creating enough vibe to score a deal with Warner Brothers for his debut recording. The 1972 self-titled album had killer pedigree on board. Pianist of choice for The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, Nicky Hopkins, came on board to produce and various players who had done time with Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Santana and The Steve Miller Band took part in the sessions. Backing vocals throughout came from none other than The Pointer Sisters. What sounds free-wheeling and spirited in the same vein as Tim Buckley by spinning downhome folk into rock, soul and gospel feels was actually a painstaking production, with Hopkins pulling out to tour and record with the Stones. Warners lost their buzz and decided not to release the finished product, unheard by and large until now 44 years later. Terry Dolan isn't around any more to finally see it happen but we can all now bear witness to a fine piece of work.
One of the mighty Warp label's mainstays is UK producer George Evelyn – better known as Nightmares On Wax and his laidback dusty soul movers. His second album Smoker's Delight was a classic of the trip-hop movement and indeed aptly titled but for his latest EP Ground Floor he's off the couch and right onto the dancefloor. With a club pulse firmly front and centre, Evelyn's nostalgia for the disco and house soundtracking his nights long ago live large here. Also on a house tip but stoking the engine room with a jazzy, playful sense of rhythm, Letherette's beat excursions on their newie Last Night On The Planet are as fun as they are kaleidoscopic, blissfully headspinning and spacey.
Also, new tunes from Sydneysiders Peter Black (his song-a-day project is coming to a close – he's done it for almost a year!) and Pretend Eye, Brisbane's The Tiger & Me, and New Zealanders Nadia Reid and The Bats.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
Gillian Welch – Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg
MV & EE – Root/Void
Coins – Daft Science
The Du-Rites – J-Zone & Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites
Forever Since Breakfast – Dangerous Levels of That's Fine
A.B Original – Reclaim Australia
Gold Panda – Your Times Are Just Beginning
Dusken Lights – In The Service of Spring
Redpspencer – Perks
Various Artists – New Orleans Funk Volume 4
Alt.country was a term formed for artists and bands, often from the US indie music scene, took on the sound and eel of country music in their music. That arguably changed in 1996 with Gillian Welch's debut album, Revival, a touchstone for where alt.country became Americana. Welch and her partner, guitarist and co-writer David Rawlings were not Nashville natives or from other country music stock but imbued her songs on Revival with its deep and rich storytelling tradition – history and folklore couched in the personal. With Boots No. 1 – The Official Revival Bootleg released on the 20th anniversary of Revival's original release, Welch has offered a bird's eye view into the terrain she begun to navigate with Revival and of course come to command. These demos, outtakes and unreleased tracks represent more than a fan's chance to devour more of Welch's work. We all get to go behind the scenes for the start of something special.
Surely there's a vast amount of people out there reading this who for a very, very long time have pondered just what it would be like if Daft Punk collaborated with The Beastie Boys, right? Well, ponder no more fantasy-pop fetishists, because Canadian producer Coins has produced a damn near perfect facsimile with his mash-up of the two's work, Daft Science. Originally made in 2014 to about zero fanfare, Coins' kooky collection has now gone somewhat viral and for us heading into summer, it's a great soundtrack for the oncoming silly season. And it's a free download from his bandcamp!
US hip hop producer and seriously funky drummer J-Zone has teamed up guitarist Pablo Martin and now they are The Du-Rites. Martin used to play guitar for the excellent Tom-Tom Club formed by Talking Heads' rhythm section Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. J-Zone plays most of the pats on their debut, but clearly has Martin on deck to cast back to the club meets Caribbean funk Tom Tom Club perfected, and this is an unashamedly old school set that's freewheeling and elastic as well as chock full of great breaks.
I think hip hop at it's best when it's at its least pretty – grotesque and cartoonish. A.B Original – the pairing of Indigenous hip hoopers Briggs and Trials – seem to agree. From the title down, Reclaim Australia is a blunt assessment of the state of our nation from the point of view of two emotionally wrought and cuttingly smart individuals ready to declare their marginalisation and paint it large and red across the face of our society. This album is the point where ugly meets vital.
With members once fro The Cannanes and Rabbit's Wedding, fans of 90s Australian indie pop might be keen to check out Dusken Lights' debut album In The Service of Spring. It's a lovely and breezy work of airy but intricate folk-pop with a nimble flow and gently literate sense of lyricism. A quiet and unassuming gem.
Also, new tunes from Raindrop, Charlie Bucket, Body Type, Black Springs, Medicine Voice and Sinkane.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service
Lower Plenty – Sister, Sister
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Until The Hunter
Josef Leimberg – Astral Projections
Timothy Nelson – Words Like Young
Eleanore Mills – This Is Eleanore Mills!
Daedelus – Labyrinths
Falty DL – Heaven Is For Quitters
Chris Pickering – Canyons
Pat Thomas – Coming Home
As hip hop retreats inward to express messages for modern times – witness recent opuses from Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Danny Brown and their existential taint – collectivity is now firmly old school. Enter golden-era gems A Tribe Called Quest and their first album in 15 years, We Got It From Here . . Thank You 4 Your Service. ATCQ's politics is where philosophy and partying come together. The social substance of soul music, the freedom of jazz and Afrocentric consciousness make We Got It From Here . . . a welcome throwback full of timely reminders, far from mere heritage retread. Many great rappers today reflect on the state of things and how we got here but ATCQ suggest ways forward. In a week where music is deemed to not be a part of big ideas or big thinking with constant talk of building walls from supposed leaders, we're lucky to have them back.
Another welcome throwback, for the sole reason that we love that voice of honeyed noir is the return of Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. The Mazzy Star singer appeared on both Massive Attack and Psychic Ills tracks this year but was last sighted with Mazzy Star in their 2013 comeback and prior to that with the Warm Inventions in 2009. Essentially a duo with My Bloody Valentine's Colm O'Ciosoig, the new album Until The Hunter is their best yet, an unhurried, unforced set full of dim-lit songs gorgeously rendered with softly shimmering and sliding guitars and a loungey kind of shuffle. All helped along by Sandoval's sumptuous voice of course, which still maintains a magnetic presence with every new chapter.
Named after an outer-suburb of Melbourne, Lower Plenty have quietly reached album number four now, Sister, Sister. To suggest their ramshackle folkish pop-tracing sound is part Go Betweens, part Velvet Underground is only a fraction of the story, but it puts you in the special zone Lower Plenty work in. All inventive, beguiling, loose, sweet and curious intoxicating, these guys occupy a space all their own.
Also, new tunes from Holly Throsby with Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek, Guided By Voices member Tobin Sprout, Straight Arrows, Bats, Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2, Andrew Tuttle and The Black-Eyed Susans.
Enjoy it all on 2SER,