One full month of isolation done! In what looks like a long period ahead for cases to bottom out we're starting to understand what we can and can't control. Something we are in charge of is what we put it in our ears. Whether you are looking for new music to listen to or wanting to pick apart others' music taste, we have you covered.
Dig into our April edition of T-Rax with our accompanying Spotify playlist.
T-Rex Musiq x
Thomas Webster's T-Rax
Heck hasn’t April flown by. As the days all blend together (pretty sure it’s a Tuesday while I’m writing this), I’ve been challenging myself to branch out and see if I can find a few new artists or new songs from artists I already love. Turns out I’ve been feeling the mellow, lo-fi, acoustic sounds recently but there’s an odd one out, no prizes for guessing which one.
Hope you enjoy,
#1 – Conundrum // Hak Baker
If you’d like a bit of life inspiration, this guy is your man. In his almost 30 years of existence, Baker has gone from teenage grime group member, to prison, to self-titled G-Folk revolution starter and there’s no predicting where he will end up. Conundrum was the first single he released and, aided by his newfound love of acoustic guitar, tells the story of his childhood growing up in East London. The thick cockney accent and bubbly strum of guitar directly juxtapose the heavy subject matter, almost romanticising what can only be described as a pretty grim upbringing. I’m pretty excited to see what’s next for Baker post this lockdown, he has hinted at wanting to conquer the US scene and I reckon he just might.
Like this? Try these: p-rallel; Jaime T
Other gems by Hak Baker: Venezuela Riddim; Tom
#2 – Change // (Sandy) Alex G
A young Bon Iver anyone? I first heard Change as the backing track of a surf edit and after a little bit of research (Instagram stalking), found the track and have been loving it to death ever since. If intimate, lo-fi pop is what you after, then Alex Giannascoli is for you. The song is short and sweet, narrating a scene in which the protagonist bumps into an old friend who was weirdly in the protagonist’s dream the week prior, invoking all kinds of questions as to why the old friend, their relationship and the world around them has altered. When he isn’t writing existential crisis inducing hits, Alex has been helping out fellow artists in the studio, with his guitar work featuring on some pretty famous pieces including Frank Ocean’s Endless and Blond albums.
Like this? Try these: Porches; Rex Orange County
Other gems by (Sandy) Alex G: Hope; Proud
#3 – Bird Sounds // Didirri
After checking out the Melbourne singer-songwriter’s new song (Don’t fight with what you’re fighting for), I’ve found myself drawn back to his first EP, (2018’s, Measurements). Bird Sounds is one of the two 2 EP exclusive tracks with the remaining 4 released as singles prior and stands as the surprise packet of the introductory miniature album. The light trumpet use, layered vocals and varied tempo show an experimental side to Didirri previously unseen on his usual stripped back ballads. Despite this, the track remains true to his roots as Didirri sings with a level of conviction that tugs on a listener’s heart strings no matter their attempts to hide.
Like this? Try these: Matt Corby; Methyl Ethel
Other gems by Didirri: Tea Stains; Blind You
#4 – Our Place // Verge Collection
It wouldn’t be unfair to say 2015’s single Our Place is the love child of Slim Dusty and the Chats. This Perth outfit are the quintessential, low-key Aussie rockers and possess the innate ability to blend a catchy melody with alongside down-to-earth, relatable topics to the everyday young Aussie. The rambling, soliloquy style delivery instantly transports the listener to memories of hanging out with friends and references to issues such as crashing due to alcohol and P-Plates not mixing well hits close to home to the target audience. My one gripe however, don’t diss tuna and rice, it’s a severely underrated lunch post surf.
Like this? Try these: Spacey Jane; The Grogans
Other gems by Verge Collection: Feelin’ Old; Class of 09’
#5 – The Glow // DMA’S
If you had told me that this would be the titular track to the Sydney ‘rockers’ third album following the release of the acoustically timeless Hill’s End or the in-your-face For Now, I’d have called you a liar, yet this song makes so much sense. Tommy’s always whirling vocals are backed by a newer, fast-paced, electronically enhanced beat and the chorus makes me feel as though I’ve been transported back into a mate’s loungeroom and we’ve fired up FIFA 13 on the PS3, evoking feelings of pure joy and a rush of exhilaration. Tommy himself has referenced this song being one of his favourites as it has taken years to develop and was written in stages as they went through break-ups, travelled on the road and did just about everything in between. I feel as though the new sound reflects the rapid and erratic changes they would have experienced. To say I am excited for this new album would be an understatement, it’s out July 10th.
Like this? Try these: Oasis; Holy Holy
Other gems by DMA’S: So We Know; Lay Down (also see the acoustic version on Tommy’s Instagram)
Max Reilly’s T-Rax
For me, this month has been about adapting to what’s going on. Any day is still a great day to have a great day. We’re lucky to be in a part of the world where this hasn’t impacted us as much as it has in other countries. I’ve found this period to be the perfect time to embark on some projects and hobbies I’ve always been meaning to do. This has translated into my picks for the month as they’ve been happily playing in the background. There are a couple fresh tracks that provoke a bit of thought and a few oldies that still hit as hard as they do from the era they were released. Enjoy!
#1 – Happy Me // Kleeer
Since seeing Hunee’s enthralling set last month, I’ve been on a mission to listen to any set of his I can find. I love how he doesn’t follow a script, doing his own thing, and gliding through genres as if it’s nothing. Digging through the archives, I found this song from a set Hunee closed at Rainbow Disco Club with Antal in Japan in 2018. Happy Me is the perfect recovery song. Dopamine rushes through the body making you feel as though you’re floating on air. Another fine selection from one of the best.
Like this? Try these: HNNY; Take Me to the Bridge by Vera; I Want Your Love by CHIC
Other gems by Kleeer: Keep Your Body Workin’; I Love to Dance; It’s Magic
#2 – After Earth // Ben Böhmer
Emotive electronic music at its very best. It was only a matter of time until my Ben Böhmer obsession began. My girlfriend planted the German producer on me a while back and this time in isolation has finally given me the chance to take an in-depth into his catalogue. Christ, it’s impressive. I’m trying to work out what I was doing with my time before this. Every song is a new journey that evokes a vast array of feelings with endless experimentation and creative expression.
After Earth is the initial song that hooked me onto Böhmer. I’m a sucker for songs that allow you to live inside it. This song was made for those magic moments on the dancefloor or when the sun comes down on a perfect day.
Like this? Try these: Bonobo; Jon Hopkins
Other gems by Ben Böhmer: Flug & Fall; Voyager 1; Breathing
#3 – Take Me to the Bridge // Vera
My friend showed me this timeless classic a month ago. I find it impossible to picture a life without this in my rotation. The elements of the incredible drumming, the groovy and happening beat and the buttery smooth vocals gel so well together to make the perfect disco song. This song takes you to places of sheer happiness. It’s crazy to think of how many smiles and memories this song has created since it was released in the ‘80s. The people who dig deep through the crates to rediscover these gems from the past deserve the biggest of pats on the back.
Like this? Try these: CHIC; Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance by Melba Moore
Other gems by Vera: Jumpin’ (Get Hot, Hit the Spot); Different People; Love Comes Easy
#4 – Cayendo (Side A – Acoustic) // Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean singing in freakin’ Spanish. SPANISH! After a shaky couple of releases (In My Room and DHL were average at best, come to terms with it), the musical prodigy returns to the top of the tree once again. Buddied up with the release of Dear April, these two acoustic versions of a predicted up-tempo project (honestly, who really knows…) see Ocean return to his moody and dreamy best.
Although we can’t understand all of it, Ocean still manages to tug hard on the heartstrings. Ocean’s voice stays at the centre of the track throughout with a washed guitar in the background, this creates an isolated feeling that would resonate with many at the moment. He doesn’t share much, but I feel as though Coachella was the next occasion Ocean was going to announce something. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long now.
Like this? Try these: Sampha; Col3trane
Other gems by Frank Ocean: Nights; Sweet Life; Pyramids
#5 – I Fall In Love Too Easily – Vocal Version // Chet Baker
A curveball this one, but I’ve been inspired to use this time to research some of the all-time greats. Exploring the musical collection of Chet Baker, I have quickly understood why he is considered a legend amongst the jazz community. A tremendous trumpeter, an effortlessly charming vocalist and a drop-dead stud. Baker was the whole package, a point of difference compared to the jazz musicians in that era.
This song is captured in an album where Baker plays no originals but makes them his own as he features both his vocals and horn together on album for the first time. The vocals are not flashy and are used simply as a convenient method to deliver a melody that transports you to a better place. It’s an intimate feel that exudes happiness.
Like many musicians though, this music appears to be a stark contrast to the life Chet Baker lived. Baker lived a troubled drug addicted life that saw him incarcerated in Italy and the US and deported from the UK and Germany. The musician would even pawn his own instruments to score heroin, ultimately leading to the cause of his death in 1988 as fell from a multi-storey building.
Like this? Try these: Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker
Other gems by Chet Baker: Love For Sale; My Buddy – Vocal Version; Autumn Leaves