Updated: May 2
Running out of songs to listen to in isolation? Why not have a flick through what our writers have been loving in what was certainly a month we won't forget.
Thomas Webster's T-Rax
Call me Moises Henriques 'cause all I’ve been doing is just listening to some Spotify this month. It’s a bit of a sombre, lowkey five, but given the circumstances they feel appropriate. Hopefully you can find something you like and that you’re all staying safe and looking out for each other.
#1 - Unfucktheworld // Fenne Lily (Cover)
In 2018, Lily covered Angel Olsen’s first track from her second full length album. Whilst the original is special in its dull, almost mumbled delivery accompanied by the lo-fi guitar, Lily’s longer, louder and unhinged version hits you smack in the face from the opening chords, forcing you to contemplate the lyrics in depth. When she covered the song 2018, Lily explained she felt it was a war cry of sorts and, given the current climate, I tend to agree with her. On a brighter note, her new song Hypochondriac is a funky little tune and I highly recommend checking out this British folk star in the making.
Like this? Try These: Novo Amor, Kodaline (their old stuff)
Other gems by this artist: Hypochondriac; Top to Toe
#2 - Persevere // Gang of Youths
This will forever be my favourite Gang of Youths Song (I’m sorry Knuckles White Dry). Dave’s incredible story telling ability and the omnipresent soul searching he is known for is everywhere on this track, and the layered backing vocals only add to the depth of this stripped back power ballad. When performed live, often Dave does it solo from the piano and it shows how he is so much more than your typical rock star. They’ve promised us new music sometime soon and I can’t wait, but in the meantime, suss the MTV Unplugged performance of Persevere for the story behind the song and to fully comprehend Dave’s vulnerability. I believe this is what has made him so endearing to fans around the globe over the past few years, well that, and his hair.
Like this? Try These: Methyl Ethel; The Middle East
Other gems by this artist: The Good Fight; Knuckles White Dry
#3 - Spark Up // Ball Park Music
Speaking of insanely talented song writers, Sam Cromack come on down. This spicy little new number from the Brisbane five-piece is exactly what the Doctor ordered. The uplifting drums and guitar’s mixed in with Sam’s gradually building vocals throughout the track lead in to a typical ‘belt out in your car chorus’ that the band have become known for. It’s the first single off their upcoming album; Mostly Sunny, and in true Ball Park style, there’s even a cleverly positioned F-Bomb in there. Play this one through your headphones while you’re doing the vacuuming and I guarantee you’ll be dancing and smiling in no time.
Like this? Try These: Bluejuice; San Cisco
Other gems by this artist: Coming Down; It’s Nice To Be Alive
#4 - Miracle Man // Oliver Tree
From professional scooter rider, to viral meme, to acclaimed songwriter and filmmaker, Oliver’s story has to be seen to be believed., Oliver Tree proposes a chaotic image yet this track balances it out with a simplistic, catchy beat and guitar combination. This hook, blended with Tree’s surprisingly introspective vocals about seizing his opportunities following a near death scooter accident, make for a fun loving, easy listening tune. Anyone who is described as the musician version of Mike Myers and rocks a bowl cut is someone I’m a fan of and you should be too.
Like this? Try These: Hobo Johnson; Joji
Other gems by this artist: Alien Boy; Cash Machine
#5 - Monday // Matt Corby
I was doing a bit of a bedroom tidy up (you’re welcome Mum) and found Corby’s Telluric album in a drawer, chucked it on and have been full of nostalgia ever since. There isn’t enough adjectives in the Oxford Dictionary to describe the vocal range on the One Man Church Choir. Armed with nothing but a few clicks, claps & a loop pedal, Corby proceeds to cleanse your soul and teach you that you should learn to appreciate where you are and what you have. Rumour is, he recorded this song in 10 minutes, and I can’t even boil pasta. What a man.
Like this? Try These: Ben Howard; James Bay
Other gems by this artist: Runaway; Light My Dart Up
Bailey Pyman's T-Rax
This has very arguably been the whackest March in history. At least the whackest March in my 23 year lifetime. I can’t even put into words how I’m feeling, nor can many people to be honest due to the constantly shifting nature of the global crisis. We are self-isolating, quarantining, going to the beach, waiting for this fucking pandemic to go away, no one knows when it will or what’s going to happen, boomers are dropping dead like flies and Scott Morrison is still the Prime Minister of Australia.
One thing we can still do is vibe out to music, at least 1.5 metres away from anyone else. These are some tracks I’ve been dancing on my own to in my backyard and kitchen, or vibing out in my bedroom to. Genre wise, its pretty all over the place, just like my mental state. Let’s get into it.
#1 - Somebody That I Used to Know // Gotye (feat. Kimbra)
This song came in 2nd in Triple J’s Hottest 100 of the Decade this month, and if it wasn’t for Tame Impala’s recent publicity due to the release of their latest album, it would have been number 1. Don’t get me wrong, The Less I Know The Better is an extremely good track, I would even go as far to say as it is a worthy 2nd best song of the 2010s, but Gotye’s heartbreak ballad that samples Baa Baa Black Sheep is the greatest song by an Australian since INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart. Go back and listen to this song. No song since has drawn the entire world in at once so unanimously. It cannot be overplayed. It is now a relic of Australian music history.
Like this? Try these: Foster The People, M83, The xx
Other gems by this artist: Hearts a Mess, Eyes Wide Open, Easy Way Out
#2 - Hopeless Wanderer // Mumford & Sons
The most underrated Mumford and Sons song. It does that legendary thing some songs do where it starts real slow and gradually builds throughout the entire track. Really makes me wanna dance in a barnyard with a wholesome country lady and swing each other around by our elbows before settling down on a farm and raising 5 children.
Like this? Try these: Of Monsters an Men, Ben Howard
Other gems by this artist: Sigh No More, Little Lion Man, I Will Wait
#3 - DETACH // Willaris. K
Australia’s best producer (in my opinion) returned this month with another exceptionally emotive and powerful dance track after a string of more quiet ambience pieces. The melodic, bassy synths provide a strong platform for the dancing, revolving high end stabs to tickle your brain. That sentence makes sense if you listen to this song.
Like this? Try these: Made in Paris, Jon Hopkins
Other gems by this artist: Perpetual Love, Underwater (Willaris K. Remix), Alchemy
#4 - Daydreams // Sultan + Shepard Echoes Of Life Remix
Another dance track, this one just provides a little bit of wholesome euphoria and positivity in an otherwise confusing time. Good track.
Like this? Try these: Tourist, Darius, Touch Sensitive (the 36th level)
Other gems by this artist: Kochi, The Way, Bloom – Intro Mix
#5 - Barfuß Am Klavier // AnnenMayKantereit
I found this song after AnnenMayKantereit collaborated with Australian favourite Parcels to cover Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. It’s pretty beautiful, and the lead singers voice is pretty gnarly. I got a lot of joy out of listening to the song (all of which is in German) and guessing what it was about based off of the mood and melodies. I got pretty close too. Highly recommend this track.
Like this? Try these: Von Wegen Lisbeth
Other gems by this artist: Ausgehen, Ich geh heut nicht mehr tanzen, Ozean
#6 (bonus track) - Crimson // Thomas Schumacher
I’ve been investigating techno again in my edgy state of consciousness and Schumacher has been hitting the spot. The German legend’s tracks are always extremely heavy, and this one in particular seems to have pandemic vibes about it. I’m not sure how exactly, but it seems like an appropriate soundtrack to a crisis. When Mad Max-style raves start happening in the apocalypse, DJ’s should be opening their armageddon sets with this.
Like this? Try these: Oliver Huntemann, Julian Jeweil, Victor Ruiz
Other gems by this artist: Wonder, The House of House, Apollo
Aaron Levey's T-Rax
Music is a refuge more than it has ever been this last month.
It has personally been a challenge transitioning from studying on campus to online learning as well coming to terms with not being able to see any live music for the foreseeable future. Amongst all the panic and stress, I have found spare time for myself to explore and browse new and exciting music. As devastating as these times have been to the music industry globally it is important we continue to stream, purchase, support artists in these times. Whether it be promoting their new music or grabbing new band merchandise. It is crucial that we do what we can.
This list of music that I’ve chosen is what I have been banging out in the privacy of my room or commuting in my car to the shopping centre. And as always, my list is genre-bending and I hope it can make its way into your playlists as well.
#1 - Sea Blue // BLOXX
This track comes from praised Uxbridge (UK) four-piece BLOXX, an indie-rock / alt-rock band who have managed to secure international success early in their career. The song Sea Blue is a mixture of jangly guitar riffs and catchy hooks, staying true to the rest of their discography. Groovy and upbeat, this song will have you shaking your hair to the infectious drums. Their catalogue of music definitely radiates a specific vibe in each song, keeping familiar and fans engaged.
As ironic as it may seem, it is definitely a beach setting kind of track, a perfect soundtrack to your cruise down the coast. I love BLOXX and I recommend everyone to check them out sometime soon. Guaranteed infectious singalongs.
Like this? Try these: Wolf Alice, The Wombats, The Magic Gang
Other gems by this artist: Curtains, Novocain
#2 - Taro // alt-J
I’ve always had difficulty trying to pinpoint alt-J and their music into a genre, which is what makes them so intriguing. Hailed by some as ‘the new Radiohead,’ the Leeds rock outfit dare to push boundaries and hold fluidity between musical categories. Coming off of their critically acclaimed 2012 project An Awesome Wave, Taro is a track smothered detailed layers of strings and chimes. The track is morphed with storytelling and history, recounting the relationship between a female war journalist, Gerda ‘Taro’ and her spouse Robert Capa. There are countless components to this song, making it a listening experience of intricacy without coming off as too chaotic, a perfect balance. Vocal style definitely stands out as alt-J gives off an awfully warm ambience. It is definitely a song that triggers your imagination. This band take on a different creative flair regularly, keeping their music different and exciting when listening, there is definitely something for all music fans. I encourage all music fans to indulge in more than just this track, but explore other projects as I would glorify them as one of the greatest alternative artists this decade.
Like this? Try these: The xx, Foals, Glass Animals
Other gems by this artist: Deadcrush, Tesselate
#3 - The Difference // Flume, Toro y Moi
The Difference sees Harley Streten’s first release of 2020 following the Hi, This Is Flume mixtape last year. It also marks his first collaboration with Toro y Moi, American singer-songwriter, who has been regarded as the pioneer of the genre ‘chill-wave.’ The track can be described as a Drum n’ Bass project, featuring skewed vocals and a heavy percussion bassline. I have plenty adoration for this song, to the point where I restart the song before it has even finished. It has such a catchy synth, which I have difficulty describing. What is interesting is that Toro y Moi was an artist that influenced Harley to begin his Flume project in the beginning of his career, adding a whole new level of sentiment to the track. Impressively, the song only took a day to produce and record, showcasing both artists’ abilities to create visceral art in the smallest of time frames.
Like this? Try these: Disclosure, SAFIA
Other gems by Flume: Sleepless, Enough
Other gems by Toro y Moi: Talamak, Rose Quartz
#4 - Cigarettes and Honey // Death by Denim
A new favourite artist I have been pumping out, Death by Denim sound like Ocean Alley and Sticky Fingers’ long lost abandoned love child. Last year saw the coastal locals pump out international tours as well as making the local regional circuit across the nation. Then Western Australians haven’t just been hailed as on of the best but they are also celebrated newcomers. What a striking track. A perfect balance between jangly guitar riffs and punchy rhythms, definitely a laid back listen. The Perth outfit also manage to adopt an interesting synthesiser into the piece as well adding an extra layer to their music. Death by Denim is definitely a band worth investing your time in.
Like this? Try these: Sticky Fingers, DMA’s, Ocean Alley
Other gems by this artist: Homemade, Tattoo
#5 - Pleasure // Cassettes For Kids
Definitely saved best for last. I would not consider myself someone who regularly indulges themselves in the dance/house/disco scene. But young producer Cassettes For Kids definitely caught my liking. Following my experience at Beyond The Valley I had heard this particular track, without the knowledge of what it was in particular or who the artist was specifically. It took me 3 months to finally stumble across it in my Spotify streams, and oh boy was I pleased. The track is such a groove, definitely a party starter if you are into house. High energy and pelting percussion, the young DJ could be found at small clubs across Melbourne. However, last year saw the artist take on multiple large music stages, warming up for the likes of DJ Koze, Denis Sulta and many more. His sound has a hint of polish but also a hint of grass roots as it melds together into something worth dancing to. The track brings back vivid memories and I think everyone should give this man a chance.
Like this? Try these: Chris Lake, Market Memories, Jordan Brando
Other gems by this artist: I Know, See The Light, Once Again
Max Reilly's T-Rax
What a month that was. Crazy to think that at the start of the month life was going about its normal business and now we're all in full isolation. It's been a bit of a hit, but I guess you have to roll with the punches.
Looking at the lighter side of things, it's been a great time to sink into some music. I really love the thought-provoking and mellower side of music, so I guess you could say I'm in heaven! Expect a bit of that in my 5 with some disco (of course).
Hope you're all doing okay,
#1 - Le symbolique // Gang of Youths
In the heat of the emotional beating Go Farther in Lightness gives listeners, Dave Le’aupepe provides momentary relief with the smooth strings composition of Le symbolique. Gang of Youths fans would describe these four minutes nothing less than spiritual as all concerns flutter away in this elegantly moving instrumental. When 2:14 hits the tempo build provides an uplifting rush of energy and power that will get you bursting out the door running. Finally, the end. What else can be said? Easily one of the best transitions of all time.
Like this? Try: Listening to it with Let Me Down Easy. Also, Comedown onto Lightenup by Parcels.
Other gems by this artist: Magnolia; The Heart is a Muscle; Sjamboska
#2 - Night Flight Reprise // Franc Moody
It was a long wait, but we finally got our hands on the debut Franc Moody album! As expected, Dream In Colour is charged up with deep funk, soul and nu disco making you feel good all the way through. Dancing nonstop for 40 minutes though can be tiring. To provide a rest for fatiguing listeners, at track 9 the London collective deliver a chilling segue with Night Flight Reprise. It hurts the head thinking how they pulled off the synth modulation as it fades in and out. It is easy to identify with the album title in this reprise as we drift into a dreamlike state.
Like this? Try these: Nangs by Tame Impala
Other gems by this artist: Dopamine; She’s Too Good For Me; Flesh and Blood
#3 - Superdiscoteca // Myd (nit remix)
The last couple of weeks have felt like forever, going out to a gig seems a lifetime ago. Only a few weeks ago the Melbourne scene was buzzing as a number of reputable artists were in town for festivals. I was lucky to see both Hunee and Folamour in the space of a week. Both producers embedded this fine discotech piece during the peak of their sets to a huge crowd reception. There are elements here that crossover the modern scene with the greats such as Cerrone and Moroder. It would’ve been a crime not to Shazam it the second time round.
Like this? Try these: Ti Chuong – Musumeci Supernatural Remix, Supernature by Cerrone
Other gems by this artist: Choudiboudibou; Valise – nit Remix
#4 - Keep It Real // Loure
The cancellation of many upcoming gigs and music festivals have cut deep. One event that coming up at the end of March was Meadow. The community-focused music festival set in the Otways absolutely nailed the lineup again this year including a fine collection of local and international acts. The artist I was eyeing off most on the roster was Loure. The progressive house/jazz musician has made a name for himself on the live circuit and through his own releases.
Keep It Real grabs your attention from the moment it begins with the smooth percussion and piano chords. As soon as the jazzy horn line blends in you’ve completely surrendered yourself to the melody. With his live band this song would have connected well with the Meadow punters in the rugged Otway Hinterlands.
Like this? Try these: Summer Dreams by Skream; Silver by Gavinco
Other gems by this artist: Mutual Motion; Vue; Ruminate in Blue
#5 - Veridis Quo // Daft Punk
During these periods in isolation you always turn to the best to lift the spirits as they have all the answers. This song is simply wondrous. The robots guide listeners on a journey that feels all too real. It’s melancholic, but cheerful giving that slight butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling as if you’re floating on air. I don’t think it will ever stop amazing me how Daft Punk make music seem so easy.
Like this? Try these: The Chemical Brothers; Giorgio Moroder; Cerrone
Other gems by this artist: Da Funk; High Life; Give Life Back to Music