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,
For his new solo album, Youth Group's Toby Martin went to Blacktown in Sydney's Western suburbs, writing and working with Vietnamese and Middle Eastern musicians to produce Songs From Northam Avenue – it's community in action.
This week, Kevin reviewed Fist Fight, a directed by Richie Keen and starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan. It is the last day of classes at Roosevelt High School and senior student pranks are causing chaos throughout the school. Two teachers plan to fight each other after one of them gets fired.
Produced by Kevin Suarez and Sean Britten
Just Words is an investigative series by 2SER 107.3FM, where we go behind the hype and headlines of our race laws and get the true stories from those who have used the racial discrimination act and those that have had it used against them.
Section 18C is the part of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate someone because of their race. So will removing 18C really give people the right to be bigots?
An original 2SER podcast launches Monday 27th February 2017. The seven part series is hosted by Nic Healey. New episodes are released each Monday.
Will a second shot of Trainspotting be as good as the first? Michael and Nic tie off and discuss
Its been over 20 years since the original, but a sequel to the 1996 classic Trainspotting drops into cinemas this week.
T2 Trainspotting re-unites original cast members - Ewen McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee-Miller and Ewen Bremmer - with acclaimed director Danny Boyle.
2SER's Kevin Suarez chats here with Danny Boyle.
Australian director Craig Boreham's debut feature film Teenage Kicks is set to screen at the 2017 Mardi Gras Queer Screen Film Festival tonight. This coming-of-age story of teen Miklos Varga is an explosive exploration of family trauma and sexual awakening. Craig talked about finding poetry and drama in the world of suburbia, plus what's next for him and his filmmaking crew.
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,
Owing as much to Abba as he does the Go Betweens, Sweden's Jens Lekman has returned with Life Will See You Now and all his insightful, wry, amusing disco-fuelled glory.
Is Silence golden? Do the numbers add up for Hidden Figures? Michael and Nic discuss.
Hint: Pretty sure these three didn't just walk out of a screening of Silence.