Best New Music - Lanie Lane, Perfume Genius, Twerps and more - August 25, 2014
The Growlers – 'Good Advice'
Smack Face Records
Californian garage rockers The Growlers clean up their sound and throw in more friendly pop hooks than ever on 'Good Advice'. The soaring Farfisa keeps the surfy vibe, but Brooks Nielsen's vocals take them to a more accessible place than they have ever been.
Ibeyi – 'River'
XL Recordings/Remote Control
The two Diaz sisters that make up Ibeyi come from good stock. Their old man was a percussionist in the Buena Vista Social Club and when he passed away the twin sisters vowed to pick up his signature instrument, the cajón and study Yoruba folk songs.
They switch from English to Yoruba when the song breaks down partway through.. No matter what language they're singing in, both women have incredible voices and 'River' is delivered with great strength. A mercifully simplistic beat backs them, putting full focus on their brilliant vocal performance which you could listen to for hours.
Lanie Lane – 'Celeste'
Lanie Lane is completely out of cowgirl mode on 'Celeste', the first single we've heard from her since To the Horses made Australia fall for her back in 2011. This new song is a crisp and cruisy slice of indie rock goodness. Lane's unique voice slips into this framework very nicely and the way those guitars chime and that snare softly cracks is just luscious.
Lucius – 'Turn It Around'
There's something very quaint about the overall sound of Lucius' 'Turn It Around'. The various, very strong vocal hooks and the way the strings, acoustic guitar, organ and handclaps all appear and vanish intermittently make for fun listening. But calling this song cute feels unfair, as if it belittles the quality of the song's craftsmanship. Make no mistake, this is pop music, but it is written so well and performed with such poise that you shouldn't feel guilty loving it.
Perfume Genius – 'Queen'
Mike Hadreas is defiant on 'Queen'. The artist, who performs under the name Perfume Genius, has never been shy to wear his heart on his sleeve or address contentious but important issues like suicide, addiction and homophobia. But when making his latest record Too Bright, he explored “an underlying rage that has slowly been growing since age ten and has just begun to bubble up”.
This is evident on 'Queen': "No family is safe when I sashay" he sings on the song, which he says was written about gay panic, over an intense, deep, dark and dirty synth drone. It's aggressive and powerful stuff.
Winterbourne – 'Cold'
via triple j unearthed
To stand out as an indie folk artist in 2014 you need to be doing something pretty special. On 'Cold', Winterbourne embrace their distinctly Australian voice, harmonise gorgeously and build the song from a bare beginning to a rather rousing finale. Theirs is a new name to many, but their almost decade of experience playing together is evident on this excellent sonic journey.
Frank Yamma – 'Everybody’s Talking'
The driving rhythm guitar and Frank Yamma's powerful voice drive this new single hard. Yamma explains that the song, sung in the Pitjantjatjara language, is about "a whole mob sitting down on country and talking about everything from politics to humbug". It's an unrelenting song with a very catchy chorus that shows Yamma has one of our country's most brilliant voices.
Young & Sick – 'Heartache Fetish'
This track from L.A.'s Young & Sick sees him venturing further into neo soul ground than we've heard from him before. The vocal evokes Erykah Badu a little, but importantly the minimal yet glossy production features a little something we haven't heard from anyone else. We'll be hearing plenty more from this prodigious young producer.
The Antlers – 'Palace'
Followers of New York's The Antlers won't be surprised that the first track on their latest LP Familiars is a dense, faultlessly orchestrated, slow-burning piece of indie rock brilliance. Peter Silberman's simple melody is so engaging and the way they can incorporate such a variety of musical textures without even remotely cluttering the song is again a source of wonderment.
Twerps – 'Heavy Hands'
Melbourne slackers Twerps really found their feet with their acclaimed 2011 eponymous record. They've given us a single since then, but the Underlay EP which they release next month is the most substantial release we've seen since that album.
While the band are renowned for their languid indie pop 'Heavy Hand' is actually kinda urgent-sounding thanks to the staccato rhythm off the song's tinny lead guitar riff and the endless loop of the four simple chords that the song is built on. Over the top, Marty Frawley and Jules McFarlane's voices clash together in an imperfect disharmony that somehow sounds sweet rather than grating. It's good to have them back.