4ZZZ Music DepartmentAwesome Fortnightly Music Update

Another load of good stuff to hit the 4ZZZ library, below. If you'd like to request any of these please mail:


...or call 07 3252 1555

Thanks to Ally Cole, Katie Green, Henry Reese, Nick Rodwell, Matthew Stoff & Tori Zietsch for their contributions to this list.

Australian Artists:

Various Artists: Drunken Moon 2013 (Indie)
- Great little comp. for a pretty sweet little festival. A bunch of Aussie bands that psychotically tear into the sounds of the blues-rock (Rattlin’ Bones Blackwood), blues (Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk), arty garage punk (Mesa Cosa), desert rock (King Of The North), sludge (Batpiss) and a whole lot more (mostly, drunken, murdery-themed blues). This interstate travelling fest shows the strength of the scene and the sound in Australia. (Chris Cobcroft)

Various Artists: RTRFM: In The Pines - 20th Anniversary Live (Indie)
- I love Faster Louder’s description of In The Pines: “In the Pines is RTRfm's annual festival showing off all the good local stuff they've discovered before Triple J”. Woot, go community radio! As you can guess from the title, this compilation celebrates 20 dang years of it and presents live recordings of some big names, old and new, that played this year. Good live recording, great bands, ‘nuff said. (Chris Cobcroft)

Amaya Laucirica: Found Some Secret (Single) (Indie / MGM)
A beautiful haze of shimmering guitars and dreamy voices combine in this track to create an envelope of sound that seems to go on forever, the same way dreams do. The wavering synths, the bucket-loads of reverb and the repetitive nature of the song force you to forget about when it started or what you were doing and pull your attention to Amaya's intriguing voice. (Krishan Meepe)

The Ancients: Hey Now (Single) (Chapter)
- Psych-pop is a much more crowded field since Melbourne hoople-heads The Anicents last put out a record. These two tracks are much more thickly textured than before, maybe to separate the sound of The Ancients from certain West Australian psych-pop superstars? It means some of the ghostly pleasantness I associated with the band is missing, but this is still pretty groovy. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Ancients: Night Bus (Chapter)
- Melbourne psych-pop band The Ancients return with their third album, Night Bus. Recorded by John Lee (Pikelet, Lost Animal) and Neil Thomason (My Disco, The Slits), it’s an album filled with swirling guitars, falsetto vocals, honest lyrics, and some of the catchiest songs the band have released to date. (Ally Cole)

Archie Roach: Creation (Warner)
- The venerable singer-songwriter serves up a four disc retrospective: his first four albums, all remastered. Harking back to the beginnings of a powerful voice for Australia’s indigenous people and their stories. (Chris Cobcroft)

Beast & Flood: Forever Homes (Single) (Indie)
- From the breezy ‘90s alt-pop with the off-key singing to the shrieky indie-art-rock climax, this has Pavement written all over it, which I suppose could be a big, derivative fail, but not when it’s done so lovingly well. Sounds great, can’t wait to hear more. (Chris Cobcroft)

Bodyjar: Stranglehold (Single) (Indie / UNFD)
- Huge Bodyjar fan, back in the day. I was trying to work out why I was only half feeling this second advance single from their new album, Role Model. The songwriting is exactly the same kind of fist-pumping melodic punk that I loved. It’s the production, innit? I played it back to back with Glossy Books and it’s like someone sucked all the blood out of the guitar sound on Stranglehold. Dunno what’s up with that. (Chris Cobcroft)

British India: Blinded (Single) (Liberation / Mushroom)
- Heart-on-sleeve Melbourne garage rockers British India have taken a more gentle turn on new single Blinded. This tune is suffused with anguish and regret, set to a slow guitar-heavy backing that soars to screaming, climactic heights. A solid and cathartic single. (Henry Reese)

Charlie Horse: Strange Passengers (Plus One)
- Twelve tough, serious songs are on show on Strange Passengers, the second album from Sydney alt-rock outfit Charlie Horse. Crystal Rose’s strong vocals float above a climactic melange of guitars that recalls early PJ Harvey or even Magic Dirt. A solid album. (Henry Reese)

Claim The Throne: Claim The Throne: Forged In Flames (Prime Cuts)
- Folk / pagan metal that really means it by being as brutal as anything. The sort of thing that those namby-pambies Nightwish or Dream Theater should wish they sounded like. The folk elements also click nicely with a strong power-metal aesthetic. It’s hard to tell how seriously these guys take themselves, but whether they’re tongue-in-cheek or live in a full-time community of dragon worshiping, quasi-Amish, medieval throwbacks, this is...exciting, in a way that metal should be. (Chris Cobcroft)

Courtney Barnett: How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose (Milk Records)
- Courtney Barnett is worth the hype. Slowly grooving, country-tinged psych over which she drawls in an almost monotone and spoken word. Her slacker vibe is surreptitiously armed with often hilarious and venomous wit. A little bit of jangle-pop via the ferocity of a Sarah Mary Chadwick, a little bit of classic Aussie singer-songwriter a-la Mia Dyson and just a touch of the country-psych genius of Gram Parsons comes together as something that belongs to Barnett alone. Great. (Chris Cobcroft)

Cycle~ 440: 17843+ (Wood & Wire)
- Cycle~ 440 combine piano and laptop to create dense, semi-improvised jams that sit somewhere between organic warmth and sci-fi doom. 17843+ captures the intriguing Perth duo live and at their best, on tour in Japan earlier this year. Like a colder, more cerebral version of the great Christian Fennesz / Ryuichi Sakamoto collabs, this loose, no-nonsense record is a fascinating addition to the ever-expanding Wood & Wire stable. (Henry Reese)

Daktari9: Tahai (Indie)
- This reggae-rock is pretty interesting. Grant Mercer and his veteran crew dust their reggae vibes with a light and lilting psych rock. The sound is much less reverb heavy than the likes of recent fusion superstars like Peaking Lights, but the inspiration is, even if subtler, the same...and it’s really quite good. (Chris Cobcroft)

Darren Sylvester: Off By Heart (Chapter Music)
- Melbourne-based musician, artist & photographer Darren Sylvester must have found a time rift at some point during the recording of Off By Heart: a relentless attack of 1980's pop music tropes, referencing Soft Cell, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode, and even my personal favourites, The Associates. The synthesizers, guitar lines, lyrics, and even the production, all sound so exact, it's the only explanation that makes a bit of sense. Very good! (Matthew Stoff)

David Evans: Domestic Cinema (Wood & Wire)
- Melbourne’s David Evans (of This Is Your Captain Speaking fame) has created a postmodern percussion album for the stellar Wood & Wire imprint. ‘Domestic Cinema’ uses drum kit and found sound (from both Evans’ home and the Melbourne Telecommunications Museum) to create a series of light, neat soundscapes that are a joyous celebration of all things percussive, while avoiding the aimless clatter that often beleaguers avant-garde drumming. (Henry Reese)

Dyson, Stringer & Cloher: Dyson, Stringer & Cloher (Milk Records)
3 of Australia's leading female singer-songwriters, Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer and Jen Cloher, have teamed up to support each other on tour and within their own songs respectively. It proves to be a strong team, the backing vocals in particular. If you're aware of these ladies and their back catalogues then you can expect more of the same, albeit with grander backing vocals. (Nick Rodwell)

Eleventh He Reaches London: Banhus (Hobbledehoy)
- Claustrophobic, dense post-hardcore sounds that owe nothing to the million metal-core wannabes out there. Long and crushing tracks that have an underlying control and precision that is awesome to behold. (Krishan Meepe & Chris Cobcroft)

Flyying Colours: Flyying Colours (Universal)
- A dreamy 80’s guitar-pop, shoegazey sound. Definitely more Swirl than Slowdive and, given their skill at alt-pop, that’s quite alright. The lovely melodic blend of male and female vocals and foggy, dreamy guitar is alright. (Katie Green)

Georgia Fair: Trapped Flame (Sony)
-This is the second album for Melbourne based indie outfit Georgia Fair. The instrumental contributions from the guitar and drums are, for the most part quiet, simple and restrained, leaving the lead vocals and harmonies to shine. Another great Aussie indie act, not dissimilar to The Rubens in their sound. (Katie Green)

Geoffrey O’Connor: Jacqueline (Single) (Chapter)
- Jacqueline is a fragile slice of synth-soaked future-pop, taken from Geoffrey O’Connor’s forthcoming sophomore album. Like ‘80s dreams of space, the song is packed with Bowie strings, gated drums and fey croons. Like a more convincing Cut Copy, O’Connor has created an effortless piece of romantic nostalgia that looks forward as much as it looks back. (Henry Reese)

Ghosts: Lie To Me (Indie)
- Midtempo, reverb heavy, ethereal dance tunes, with cooing vocal samples. Remarkably similar to the sounds of Gold Panda or Fourtet, but that also means Ghosts aren’t half bad as beatmakers and, since there’s not too much in Australia that sounds like this, probably filling some kind of niche, too. The title track, which is also the closer, adds actual, quiet, gents vox and with a gentle twist it becomes very meditative synth-pop. That’s just damn genteel, I want to hear more. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Growl: Dowse The Lamps (Single) (Indie / MGM)
- The grinding garage / roots combo of The Growl is produced here to sound like it’s bubbling up from the bottom of a swamp. It’s uncompromisingly abrasive, but groovy, like Tom Waits is when he he’s snarling like a feral dog. (Chris Cobcroft)

High Tension: Primitive (Single) (Cooking Vinyl)
- Iwrestledabearonce mixed with The Bronx. Or, Female fronted hardcore. Not particularly new in terms of form and function, but that doesn't make it any less fun, particularly when she starts to sound like a jaguar or any other panthera. (Nick Rodwell)

Jimblah: Phonenix (Elefant Tracks / Inertia)
- On his second record for Elefant Traks, indigenous MC and producer Jimblah proves, again, to be quite versatile. There are political broadsides, like March, armed with sharp, techy beats, nu-rootsy raps like Sing With You, and everything in between. When he loads down the sound, something thickly textured and heavy going like TV, his slurring style (adds a literal quality to ‘spitting’ and) ends up sitting next door to somebody like Gonjasufi. More often though the speedy, urgent anger of his flow has more in common with Paris, if you were to pick anyone from the constellation of political rappers. Maybe that’s just the kind of shot in the arm Aussie hip hop needs. (Chris Cobcroft)

Jimmy Tait: Golden (Spunk / Mushroom)
- Dark, commanding chamber pop / folk-rock from Melbourne composer and multi-instrumentalist Sara Retallick. Heartfelt and powerful. (Matthew Stoff)

Jonti Vs Big Scary: Slumming It In Paradise (Single) (Vice)
- Two Aussie acts who’re making waves their own way - wonky producer Jonti and indie-kids-that-could Big Scary - have teamed up on this original track. It sounds pretty sweet and like both of them, or maybe like a better than average Daedelus, RJD2 or Boom Bip & Gruff Rhys effort. (Chris Cobcroft)

Juxtpose: ILAB IXTAN (Indie / Sub Amp)
- Interesting, experimental techno / house / electro-dub-ish tunes. With all the samples from - where was it? Bali? You could maybe think of this as illbient?? If weird electro tunes float your boat then this should have you sailing. (Katie Green + Chris Cobcroft)

Loon Lake: Gloamer (Caroline / Universal)
- Melbourne head-turners Loon Lake have finally put out a full length and it hits all the right spots. Free of all the stale, Australian indie pop safeness, parts of the album feel like a nod to old 90's American indie with some Dinosaur Jr. like guitar heroics. There's a definite air of fun about the album, the way Cloud Control did on their debut but Loon Lake have an edge of experimentation in their songwriting and lyrical depth. The only question about this album is how it will do overseas. (Krishan Meepe)

Milwaukee Banks: Pluto Bounce (Single) (Indie)
- Slow, slick synths, bassy, pitch-shifted vox and rapping, Milwaukee Banks are directly channeling stuff like Mt. Kimbie, with maybe a little bit of Tyler The Creator thrown in. A bit derivative, maybe? Still, pretty nicely done. (Chris Cobcroft)

Miss Renee Simone: Roar (Indie)
- Roar is a rootsy, smooth collection of soul and R&B from Jamaican-born, Byron Bay-based vocalist Miss Renee Simone. Simone’s songs are delivered with a relaxed, back-porch elegance that recalls both classic vocal jazz and the egalitarian vibes of Blue King Brown or Mama Kin. Good vibes x 11. (Henry Reese)

Narrow Lands: Popular Music That Will Live On Forever (Octopus Pi / Tenzenmen)
- Impossibly heavy stoner doom with a wonderful grasp of irony, from Sydney. What's not to love? (Matthew Stoff)

Oliver Tank: Different Speed Ft. Ta-Ku (Single) (Create/Control)
- I’ve always had a soft-spot for the DIY, white-boy r’n’b of Oliver Tank. I wasn’t sure that other people were feeling the same way, though. I was - obviously - not right. Someone has pressed the ‘go’ button on his career, manifesting in the form of a hyped signing to Create/Control and also this single. It’s a slow and soulful croon that booms outward into enormous ambience and is further, armed to the teeth with Ta-Ku’s ultra-slick beats. This new OT sounds great, can’t wait to hear more. (Chris Cobcroft)

Other Places: Symbols (Indie)
- Other Places is pounding just as hard as the drummer-cum-synthstar can make it. That’s pretty hard. Sternly paced synth-rock that teeters on the edge of the obsessive repetition of kraut busts out during opener Japanese dream like a stretched, long-form version of the Doctor Who theme with mutated, dopplering emergency services sirens wailing over the top - gripping stuff and there’s plenty more like it on this intriguing second record. (Chris Cobcroft)

Paul Dempsey: Shotgun Karaoke (Capitol / EMI)
- It’s a cliche to say that covers albums are always a risky proposition. Paul Dempsey ups the ante by approaching this bunch of cultish classics with only his guitar and gritty but soaring voice. It’s that second one which allows him to pull off some of these gambits, like a quite convincing impression of Queen’s I Wanna Break Free. I especially like his vocalise of Brian May’s solo: cheeky but effective. Dempsey’s knowledge of pop music from the last thirty years also makes this work. Songs like The Archers Of Loaf’s Web In Front or Hüsker Dü’s Don’t Wanna Know are bona fide classics and they’ve drifted just far enough from the public consciousness to make their return a nostalgic pleasure. Australian entries - You Am I’s beloved Berlin Chair and a cut from rising star Courtney Barnett - are also, well, like this whole thing, a bit brilliant. (Chris Cobcroft)

Paul Greene & The Other Colours: Beautiful Delusion (Single) (ABC / Universal)
- A bittersweet soft-rocker about the delusion of love, backed up by a band that knows exactly where they should be. The melody is surprisingly catchy, enough so that Greene gets away with whistling the whole second verse, moments before the end of the song; short and sweet. (Krishan Meepe)

Perth: Drank And Kites And Tomorrow (Single) (Hidden Shoal)
- Perth (guess where they’re from) pack breezy but still densely layered, intellectual but tuneful, indie but art rock in this advance single. Pretty much the perfect exemplar for the Hidden Shoal style and as intriguing and listenable as always. (Chris Cobcroft)

Rokwell&Groom: Omaha (Single) (The Community)
- Two well-known West Australians team up, Diger Rokwell supplying dark, downtempo beats and atmosphere, for Felicity Groom to go all synth-rock diva over. Following in the increasingly well-trodden path taken by the likes of UNKLE, Boom Bip, Death In Vegas or Trentemoller, this nonetheless has the smokey and venomous quality of a Bond theme tune and that ain’t bad. (Chris Cobcroft)

Ron S. Peno And The Superstitions: Anywhere And Everything Is Bright (Public Bookings)
- There’s quite a lot that Ron S. Peno’s ‘solo’ output has in common with his old outfit, Died Pretty. Maybe it’s just the creaky leatheriness of his voice that pushes his contemporary sounds that much further into southern rock and country. It’s sort of a parallel for the trajectory of Mark Lanegan. Whatever, if you remember the thickly textured alt-guitar rocking of DP with fondness, chances are you’ll find something to like here. (Chris Cobcroft)

Saint Jude: Saint Jude II (Cobra Snake Necktie / Love & Theft)
- I always feel like it’s kind of uncanny how blues-rock, garage, psych - all these things - have come back big time. Yet the kind of rootsy, Americana pop-rock that folks like The Band, or Creedence made so popular doesn’t seem to have found the opportunity for another go round. Probably a good thing, I suppose, it could get very boring, very quick. Still Saint Jude make me wonder. Their command of these sounds is impressive, even more so on their second full-length, rolling out blue eyed soul and tear-jerking country ballads like it was nobody’s business. If that sounds like your sort of thing, this is the band to go to. (Chris Cobcroft)

Saskwatch: Hands (Single) (Northside / Shock)
- Full of 70's bop and pop, a happy, clappy track from soul group Saskwatch. (Katie Green)

Seagull: Ocean From Above (Two Bright Lakes / Remote Control / Inertia)
- Ocean From Above is the third album from Melbourne acoustic pop outfit Seagull. Based around the complex guitar work and plaintive murmurs of frontman Chris Bolton, this album is gentle and quiet at heart, like a pared-down Whitley fronted by Thom Yorke. Thankfully, Bolton’s attention to detail saves Ocean From Above from blandness. (Henry Reese)

Sia: Elastic Heart Ft. The Weeknd and Diplo (Single) (Universal)
- Sia continues to bring together the two sides of her career. Where previously she’d either performed infectious chart-pop, or written it for ridiculously famous people, here she does both. Not with David Guetta this time (thank Christ) but (the let’s face it equally bombastic and plastic) Diplo, laying down his typically urban beats which meet Sia’s synth-pop in the middle in an ocean of cheese, powdered with sugar courtesy of some soaring r’n’b sweetness by The Weeknd. Not my favourite ever Sia song, but I’m sure she’s insulated from the cold barbs of my opinion by an extremely thick layer of warm cash. (Chris Cobcroft)

Shebeen Queen: Shebeen Queen (Seventh Seal)
- Sydney garage duo Shebeen Queen’s debut self-titled EP is refreshingly scrappy. Two guitars, two singers, rudimentary Moe Tucker drums: these simple elements are all the band need to conjure swampy, hollow-eyed post-punk darkness. A promising debut. (Henry Reese)

Splashh: Green And Blue (Single) (Breakaway)
- The London living collection of Aussie and Kiwi expats making tuneful, thickly textured psych rock, continue to sound like those hypnotic funsters, Ride. Good. (Chris Cobcroft)

Sister Jane:Whole Wide World (Single) (Broken Stone/ Remote Control)
- Like Billy Idol fronting Spiritualized. Freak out! Did they always sound like this? Whatever, it sounds pretty great. Great swaths of space-rock backing hell-bent rock screeching. (Chris Cobcroft)

Sons of Rico: Against the Grain (Single) (Firestarter Music / Inertia)
- Perth’s Sons of Rico have released he first taste of the forthcoming album In Rico Glaciers, Against the Grain. A catchy rock track that wouldn’t sound out of place on a festival stage, Against the Grain is a little glam rock, with its prominent guitar licks and Alex MacRae’s signature falsetto vocals. Indie-rock with a dash of The Darkness. (Ally Cole)

Spiderbait: It's Beautiful (Single) (Universal)
- The second single from Spiderbait's upcoming self-titled album, due on November 15th, sees the band experimenting with 80's infused modern synth rock; where the bright, airy vocals of bassist Janet English play amongst heavy stabs of sawtooth bass, distorted guitar, and bubbly synthpop melodies. (Matthew Stoff)

Tom Kline: Vintage Loneliness (Indie)
- Guns & Dolls, the opening track on the EP, lifts liberally from I Love The Nightlife, giving Tom Kline - especially with his nasally, androgynous voice - a very queeny vibe. Also, it’s called Vintage Loneliness. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I mean that musically, too: there’s a touch of Elton John’s cheesiness, but also of Antony Hegarty’s touching melancholy on this diverse collection of showtunes, piano-driven barroom tearjerkers, and acoustic folk weepies. (Chris Cobcroft)

Tora: Calming Her (Single) (Indie)
- It’s pretty obvious that Byron Bay’s Tora have been listening to a LOT of The xx and, especially, James Blake. Still, their indie-r’n’b stylings are pretty accomplished in their own right, and if this would’ve sounded fresher two years ago, it’s still pretty fresh. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Weapon Is Sound: Praxis Dub (Single) (The Community)
- Heavy dub, lots of bass, lots of reverb, Perth gang The Weapon Is Sound comment on “passive political consumption” with Praxis Dub. Crowd-moving dub for sure. (Tori Zietsch)

Whitaker: Wichita (Indie)
- Recorded in countless halls, auditoriums and spaces around Melbourne, Whitaker’s newest EP, Wichita, is all about the vibe. Pairing soaring vocals with impeccable musicianship and thoughtful lyrics, Whitaker put their signature stamp on the genres of folk and pop. This is an EP for fans of The Shins, Husky, and Elbow. (Ally Cole)

Local Artists:

Blonde On Blonde: Lucid (Single) (Indie)
- The Brissie alt. rockers return sounding as big, slinky and alt as ever. A little bit of Garbage, a little bit of Alice In Chains. Loud, trashy fun. (Chris Cobcroft)

Bound For Ruin: Oblivion (Indie / Firestarter)
- Surprisingly tight and diverse Brisbane metalcore. Amity Affliction you may have a run for your money sometime soon. Definitely from the more metally, oldschool end of metalcore, and the better for it. In fact when the more overtly metalcore elements, like the synths, dip out and you’re left with melodic metal with only the subtlest prog tendencies, Bound For Ruin are one brutal band, one that I could listen to for quite some time. (Chris Cobcroft)

Bullhorn: Roll Of The Top (Single) (Indie)
- The best thing that Bullhorn ever did (so far) was sign up that MC of theirs, Roman Albert. More than the sum of its parts, with him in the mix, the whole crew catches fire, becoming competition for the likes of live breaks / soundtrack soul outfits like The Breakestra, El Michels Affair or The Hot 8 Brass Band. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Cassingles: Nevermore (Indie)
- Local horror-punk trio The Cassingles — subscribers to this fine station — have just released Nevermore, their third EP. While the band all share vocal duties, drummer Annette’s tough delivery makes the strongest impression. Despite an awful cover of ‘Red Right Hand,’ Nevermore is a fast-paced, fun and catchy listen. (Henry Reese)

The Creases: I Won’t Wait (Single) (Rough Trade / Remote Control)
- In one of the most perplexing signings of the year, The Creases are releasing their debut 7” on Rough Trade, whose tastemakers are seemingly in love with the band’s mystique (their presser begins thus: ‘Tucked away in the streets of East Brisbane Australia is a rickety old share house resting on stumps and oozing with character.’ You get the picture). I Won’t Wait is a heartfelt slice of almost-out-of-tune jangle-pop that references both Is This It-era Strokes and the ever-popular local ‘surf’ sound. A sweet song that works even without the crazy back-story. (Henry Reese)

Eli: It’s Fyn Tho (Single) (Ender)
- A super-bright mix of trap, 8-bit, eletro-pop and r’n’b. Quite tongue in cheek and it’s hard not to grin. Only a small sensation that this really needs an MC over the top to allow it to survive in the wild. (Chris Cobcroft)

Gunk: Sugarsoap (Indie)
Riot grrrl the way it should be. Too much distortion, incoherent yelling and no songs hitting 3 minutes. Sounds like it was recorded in a garge while the singer was yelling into a metal garbage can and I love it. The songs are fun and noisy in a surprisingly catchy way, like a summer album for methheads. (Krishan Meepe)

Jeremiah Hunter and The Preachermen: Cowards (Indie)
- Brisbane-based Jeremy Hunter (formerly of Inland Sea) reveals a fresh musical direction with his new band Jeremiah Hunter and The Preachermen. Cowards, an anxiety-ridden track featuring heavy guitar riffs and steady, driven rhythms, is the first single to come from the group, leaving behind his folk roots for a new rock experience. (Tori Zietsch)

Lyon Apprentice: I Will Find You (Single) (Indie / The A&R Department)
- Gold Coast brothers Adam and Nathan deliver a stirringly beautiful track with 'I Will Find You'. Gentle percusion, acoustic guitar and subtle piano combined with angelic vocal harmonies and hearfelt lyrics.... They have me swooning. (Katie Green)

McKisko: Eximo (El Nino El Nino)
- Delicate precision makes this album what it is. The drumming is so sporadic and unexpected, it tends to play everything around the main beat and imply something steady by leaving space. McKisko is graced with an easily distinguishable voice and a knack for knowing exactly how little to play on her piano. The interweaving textures make for quite a brooding but captivating sound which garners it the accolade of requiring multiple playthroughs to fully unravel this album. (Krishan Meepe)

The Merrys: We Don't Know (Single) (Indie)
- Brother, sister duo from Brisbane the Merrys have put forward a fantastic first track. Enchanting vocal harmonies, over synth-folk-pop-rock. Extremely radio friendly and stupendously well put together: overall a fun and catchy track, can't wait to hear more. (Katie Green)

Naked Maja: #59 (Single) (Indie / Micronations)
- Local art-pop four-piece Naked Maja have gone from strength to strength in 2013. Following the success of two self-released EPs, new single #59 takes the band into darker territory. The cold buzzsaw guitars, jangly percussion and deconstructed sax of #59 combine to create a claustrophobic, intense mood that brings to mind Slowdive’s harder early releases. (Henry Reese)

Nimble Animal: Bleak Moments (Feral Media)
- A new one from Dom Stephens in his Nimble Animal guise. Still doing psych / kraut experiments, but without going to quite the same Sun Araw-channeling extremes. For the most part, this is sweetly hypnotic synth, a bit like Peaking Lights? With a few excursions into skittering, crawling, dub terrors like Opal Fruits, which is actually quite good. Another thoroughly interesting record. (Chris Cobcroft)

Santelmo: Holiday Season (Single) (Indie)
Lo-fi, rather baroque-sounding jangle pop from a four piece band in Brisbane. There's something unsettling about it, like a quiet, well-mannered kid sitting in the back of your class drawing make-believe murders in his exercise book; an unexpected disruption between the lyrics, melody and tone of the song that I find very appealing. It's catchy, too. (Matthew Stoff)

Tiny Spiders: Nervy Hulk 7” (Tym)
- A new cut and a cover from the grungey art-rockers who so impressed with their debut full-length. Ever so slightly more lo-fi, Nervy Hulk sounds of Sonic Youth in both style and complexity. The cover is of MBV’s Feed Me With Your Kiss, bringing TS’s grunge fuzz into a happy marriage with the shoegaze stylings of the original, what’s not to like? (Chris Cobcroft)

New Zealand Artists:

The Bats / Boom Gates: December Ice / Widow Maker 7” (Mistletone / Bedroom Suck)
- .An offcut from the jangly kiwi legends’ 2011 album, Free All Monsters, is good enough to become an A-Side in a forthcoming split 7” with some of the finest inheritors of their style, Boom Gates. Lazy but heavy and psychedelically swirling pop is backed with jangly, country rocking and it’s a pretty sweet package. (Chris Cobcroft)

P-Money & Gappy Ranks: Baddest (Single) (Grindin)
- Kiwi producer puts together a track for UK dancehaller Gappy Ranks. Politically incorrect bad-assness about chopping people up sounds pretty sick. So do the beats: bouncing bass and cut-up vox makes this sound like some kind of dancehall / footwork fusion. Not quite as murderous as The Bug at its best, but pretty damn cold. (Chris Cobcroft)

Overseas Artists:

Various Artists: Totally Robbed (Totally Wired Records)
- Totally Robbed is a compilation of Lo-Fi punk/synthwave songs by artists on Totally Wired in support of one of their artists who was recently robbed after a show in Vienna. The eleven track compilation features Crystal Soda Cream, Dazed Pilots, Gran, Go Ask Delphi and more. Totally cool. (Tori Zietsch)

Aloe Blacc: Wake Me Up (Acoustic) (Single) (XIX / Interscope / Universal)
- Haha, Aloe Blacc over acoustic guitar and piano sounds just like Tracy Chapman! I want to take a long car-trip to find my inner-self. Loving it. (Chris Cobcroft)

Anna Calvi: One Breath (Domino / EMI)
- This album is a good example in marking the point where indie-rock crosses over into lush pop. Thematically, it is reminiscent of PJ Harvey's stark lyricism and it sounds great, the production offers everything you've wanted out of a Florence/Karen-O love child. And that's just it, it isn't that different or weird, It's polished, it's solid; but it doesn't step out from the aforementioned comparisons. (Nick Rodwell)

Brendan Canning: You Gots 2 Chill (Stop Start / EMI)
- Brendan Canning's second album eschews the dense productions that characterized his work with the Broken Social Scene, leaning instead towards bright, acoustic folk songs tinged with dream pop, muzak, and minimalist electronica. Recorded over voicemail in the living room of his Toronto home. (Matthew Stoff)

The Courtneys: The Courtneys (Hockey Dad / Conquest of Noise )
- This Vancouver band combines post-punk guitar melodies with wall of noise distortion, surf rock, and energetic, upbeat vocals reminiscent of bands like Bratmobile and Bikini Kill. The world needs more bands just like this one. (Matthew Stoff)

Crystal Stilts: Nature Noir (Sacred Bones / Inertia)
- Composed of reverb-drenched vocals, dirty guitars and fuzzy bass, The Velvet Underground comes to mind when listening to the album. Nature Noir is texturally rich, spacey post-punk deliciousness. (Tori Zietsch)

Cults: Static (In The Name Of / Sony)
- Static is a really dreamy indie-pop/rock record from New York City based duo Cults. Spacey melodies and washed out vocals put soft edges on the gritty bass sounds and driving rhythms, throughout the record. A little bit eerie, it’s effervescent pop with an edge. (Tori Zietsch)

Darkside: Psychic (Other People / Modular)
- Producer wunderkind Nicolas Jaar and his guitarist mate Dave Harrington put down a full-length for their Darkside collaboration. So much more arty and pretentious than their debut EP: full of endless, shadowy soundscapes, glitches, unexpected stylistic left-turns and monstrous generic mash-ups. The greatest risks sometimes realise the greatest rewards and this disco-blues-glitch-ambient monstrosity is also one of the year’s most impressive albums. (Chris Cobcroft)

Future Of The Left: Johnny Borrell Afterlife (Single) (Prescription / Remote Control)
- Watch it! Angry, literate Welsh people are coming this way! You better believe it, whatever you might have thought of their recent stuff, the real fans Pledge-Music’d their pants at the prospect of a new record. So, more fast-paced, angular alt.rock with Andy Falcous screeching about everything he can’t stand over the top. Catchy chorus. (Chris Cobcroft)

Glasser: Interiors (True Panther / Remote Control)
- Infiltrated with dreamy electronic landscapes and silky female vocals, the album delicately crafts images of uncertainty regarding architecture and urbanity. Exploring the sensitivity of dynamics and space in a recording, Interiors mirrors Glasser’s curiosity with the frenetic relationship that exists between identity and environment. (Tori Zietsch)

Grizzly Bear: Shields: Expanded (Warp / Inertia)
- In case you hadn’t had enough of those mercurial Brooklyn art-popsters, Warp are releasing an extended edition of Grizzly Bear’s lauded Shields, containing a generous helping of outtakes, demos and remixes for serious fans to geek out on. Highly recommended are the sinister Nicolas Jaar rework of Sleeping Ute and the delicate ‘Marfa Demo’ of Taken Down. (Henry Reese)

Grizzly Bear: Will Calls (Single) (Doomed Beauty / Warp)
Slow and moody, Will Calls is everything you expect from Grizzly Bear plus some cool little extra bits. sweet and tender vocals start off the track over some minimal drums and develop into an explosion of cymbals and guitars. The choruses just don't take off the way they should but it's a forgivable shortcoming when everything around it is so good. (Krishan Meepe)

Hot 8 Brass Band: Homies/ Bingo Bango (Tru Thoughts)
- Hard to say no to a band like Hot 8. Two more cuts of unstoppably energetic and groovy brass, jazzy funk and funky jazz. (Chris Cobcroft)

James Blake: Life Round Here Feat. Chance The Rapper (Single) (1-800 Dinosaur / Universal)
- Clearly enthused by the success of his turn with The RZA on Take A Fall For Me, Blake has invited Chance The Rapper to have a go on a new single from Overgrown. The simple, electro-hip hop beat and repetitive vocal grabs make it an obvious choice for the treatment and Chance does his best to get all moody and nostalgic just like JB. It’s not a revelation, but the pair click together just fine. (Chris Cobcroft)

Jonathan Wilson: Fanfare (Bella Union / Pias / Mushroom)
- North Carolina native Jonathan Wilson’s new album Fanfare is huge and sprawling, like a proggier Elliot Smith. In fact, both vocally and lyrically, the comparison between Wilson and Smith is astonishing at times. If this overblown, self-indulgent record had come out in 1971, it may well have gone down as a prog-folk classic. (Henry Reese)

Julia Holter: This Is A True Heart (Single) (Domino / EMI)
- Just in case you didn’t know already, we love Julia Holter, her recent album Loud City Song and this single. Very arty but very listenable, It’s kinda like Blondie at their most fey, with a bit of the Carpenters rolled in. (Chris Cobcroft)

The Julie Ruin: Run Fast (TJR / Dischord / Fuse)
Riot Grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) has a new band called The Julie Ruin, whose debut album, Run Fast, reignites some of the chaotic venom of yesteryear. While Run Fast combines singalong pop-punk, surf-rock and New Wave, Hanna’s voice is the hero here, deftly skipping from cutesy Karen O affectation to full-throated rage. Fun and intense. (Henry Reese)

Lanterns On The Lake: Until The Colours Run (Single) (Bella Union / Pias / Mushroom)
- A dramatic, fragile single from a dramatic, fragile band. The racing Until The Colours Run combines E-Bow, cinematic strings and urgent crooned vocals to highly emotive effect. This proficient young Newcastle-Upon-Tyne five-piece should appeal to fans of the current crop of widescreen British indie-pop; think London Grammar, Daughter et al. (Henry Reese)

Lee Ranaldo And The Dust: Last Night On Earth (Matador / Remote Control)
- Following the timely demise of Sonic Youth, Lee Ranaldo is striking out in his own Chelsea Light Moving-kinda way. Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, Last Night On Earth eschews sympathetic-string feedback freakouts in favour of dramatic, Kurt Vile-esque ‘70s road rock. His voice is pure Lou Barlow too. Basically, a solid comeback from one of the great ‘alternative’ guitar heroes. (Henry Reese)

Luke Temple:Good Mood Fool (Secretly Canadian)
- Here We Go Magic alumnus Luke Temple busts out a new solo record. He’s developed quite a collection of them in the last ten years and this is certainly one of the most easy-going. The pop-affectations, plastic synths and his light and lilting voice are still bound to that same slightly krauty, propulsive repetition that underlies HWGM’s sound, too. So, if HWGM were synth-pop, it would probably sound quite a lot like this. (Chris Cobcroft)

Melvins: Tres Cabrones (Ipecac / Fontana)
- A new album ahead of their Aussie tour, and - on initial listens - the aged sludge-pit-lords are feeling it right now. No less silly than ever, they’re still booking-ending fuzzy smashers with minute long hillbilly ditties called Tie My Pecker To A Tree. Those slow-moving sludge behemoths are what I’m after though and they sound just right. It’s amazing, year after year, The Melvins just keep pumping it out and their thoroughly loyal fans keep lapping it up. When it sounds like this, I suppose, where’s the beef? (Chris Cobcroft)

Machinedrum: Vapor City (Ninja Tune / Inertia)
- For a while now I’ve been wondering when drum’n’bass and jungle are going to get revived, along with everything else. Machinedrum might be the beginning. His jungle rhythms, despite being loaded with backbeats and writhing syncopation, are actually quite subtle, drawing you in almost imperceptibly. It’s a good thing they do because other elements of his sound, like the quite repetitive vocal samples are substantially less interesting. Certainly not Goldie at his most interesting, but a good deal more tasteful than Goldie at his worst. (Chris Cobcroft)

MGUN: Some Tracks (Third Ear / Finetunes)
- Detroit producer Manuel Gonzalez has a freaked out take on the sounds of his hometown and he’s equally freaky with beats from a bunch of other places too. Industrially heavy techno splinters into nearly random syncopations on cuts like Mean While and a number like Fiber fires a similar kind of fragmentation ray at a coldy skitzing dancehall / trap beat. Shimmering, crystalline ambience mutates through nauseous slides and squelches almost as much as the bass on Mask. Mean and intellectual, this is for the fierce nerd in you. (Chris Cobcroft)

Money: Hold Me Forever (Single) (Bella Union / Pias)
- Of all the melodramatic indie heartachers signed to Bella Union, Manchester’s Money might be one of the most genuinely emotional. Hold Me Forever is an inconsolably mournful torch song, set to a delicate, foggy indie-pop backing and featuring a clear, Active Child-like vocal. For all the gloom, there is something strangely uplifting about the ‘80s romanticism of this track. (Henry Reese)

National Wake: Walk In Africa 1979-81 (Light In The Attic)
- National wake were a mixed race punk band in Johannesburg, South Africa during the time when the apartheid regime was in in full force. The context in which this band had to exist is the reason they are so important and were given plenty of exposure from recent documentary Punk In Africa, leading to this collection of songs. Musically they sound like a less in your face yet more politcal version of early Bad Brains. It's no surprise as these songs were all recorded around that time but half of them have never seen a release until now. Listening to this gives you a sense of the struggle it would have been for a band like National Wake. (Krishan Meepe)

Parquet Courts: Tally All The Things That You Broke (What’s Your Rupture? / Create/Control)
- Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts play zany, dry punk rock in the format of Thee Oh Sees. New EP Tally All The Things That You Broke is energetic and oddball (see the recorder on abrasive opener ‘You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now’). This creative spirit makes for a compelling and ambitious listen. (Henry Reese)

Piano Interrupted: The Unified Field (Denovali Records)
- The Unified Field is the new release from London duo Piano Interrupted: an apparently harmonious collaboration between minimalist English pianist Tom Hodge, and French electronic producer Franz Kirmann, inspired by their years of friendship, and the David Lynch novel Catching The Big Fish. Despite coming from two different sides of the musical spectrum, Hodge and Kirman work together to create a sound which represents an egalitarian combination of their influences: where fragile, surrealistic piano lines dance among synthesized beats, and classical arrangements flirt with elements of house and electronica. It's delicate, and atmospheric: with a nervous tension that makes it seem poised to explode. (Matthew Stoff)

TEEN: Big Talk (Single) (Mistletone / Inertia)
- I criticised Teen’s debut album for having WAY too much reverb and just being really affectedly lazy and out of it in general. It’s like Teeny Lieberson listened to everything I said and on this single we get hi-fi, arty synth-pop grooving to a pleasantly efficient kraut-rock beat (a borrow from Teeny’s old outfit Here We Go Magic). I think it sounds pretty sweet, but I know that it’s already pissed some folks off mightily, so, you can’t win, can you? I still like it though!! (Chris Cobcroft)

Tony Joe White: Hoodoo (Yeproc / Planet Comapny / MGM)
- Tony Joe White is a blues stalwart, and on this album he is doin' his thing as per usual. If you don't know who he is then I guess he sits somewhere between J.J. Cale and John Lee hooker. Capable of writing a a good blues-rock song like J.J. but also equally capable of plodding along on a motif like John Lee. (Nick Rodwell)

Toro Y Moi: Campo (Single) (Mistletone / Inertia)
This 'tour single' from Toro Y Moi, is a great showcase of his talents. The deep groove on this song could almost be pulled off a CAN record with a shuffling backbeat from the drums and a simple yet effective bass line laying a solid foundation for Toro's smooth vocal delivery. Add some tasty synths and guitars every now and again and you've got one hell of an infectious track. (Krishan Meepe)

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