Cookin' on 3 Burners plus Kaiit makes for the perfect recipe
There are heaps of new songs released every week. Why waste your time listening to terrible ones (not mentioning any names) when you could be pumping gold such as the following into your ears on the regular?
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Cookin' on 3 Burners – ‘Warning’ (Ft. Kaiit)
Seeing everyone go wild over 20-year-old Melbourne singer Kaiit has been one of the great joys of Australian music of the past 12 months. This new collaboration with soul mainstays Cookin' on 3 Burners will be one of the great joys of the next 12.
The band are as slick and soulful as ever and Kaiit slips into their groove perfectly. There’s a huge amount of this kind of soul being made in this country – and around the world – right now, but both of these artists approach what they do with such confidence and enough originality to make it stand out in just the right ways.
The interplay between Kaiit and the band feels so natural and her vocal, in a general sense, has a personable quality that can’t be faked. Expect Cookin' on 3 Burners’ new album Lab Experiments Vol. 2 some time in the next few months.
Blood Orange – ‘Charcoal Baby’
This woozy piece of modern soul from Blood Orange is just further proof that Dev Hynes is one of modern music’s most thrilling creative forces. The balance of cutting edge indie rock and R&B, as well as the respectful retooling of Prince-esque 80s slink-pop, is nothing short of genius. It’s both deeply emotional and a little bit alien, but it all works together seamlessly. Not sure how he does, but glad that he does. His new album Negro Swan will be out at the end of August.
Everything Is Recorded – ‘Carry Me’ (Ft. Obongjayar & Yazz Ahmed)
Another song that showcases everything we love about Richard Russell’s Everything Is Recorded project. Obongjayar’s performance on ‘She Said’ was one of the highlights of the first EIR record from earlier this year, but he sounds even better on this new single. His gritty voice is one that commands to be heard, and the smooth trumpet playing of Yazz Ahmed is such a clever counterpoint. ‘Carry Me’ is taken from a new EP which will be out later this year. Russell’s been busy…
Meres – ‘Feardom’
Tasmanian singer and songwriter Mary Shannon knows how to write a pop song. And she knows that most pop songs are often better when paired with fuzzy guitars, driving basslines and impassioned vocal delivery. Her new single as Meres has all of the above and it will make you want to hear more from her the second it ends.
Mitski – ‘Nobody’
“What will it take to be wanted? What do I need to do to be desirable?” Mitski said when explaining the lyrics of her excellent new single to Genius.
‘Nobody’ is a really sad song, perhaps because it’s so relatable. Those low moments where you’re just so sure that no one likes you tend to be pretty rough. The way Mitski pairs these mood with such powerful, brilliantly written pop and unexpected insights – about the solar system, about body image, about yearning for physical contact – is particularly clever. Her Be The Cowboy album is out mid-August.
Nardean – ‘Pyramids’
Absolute class from Nardean, who we fell in love with from the very first moment we heard her. ‘Pyramids’ is one of those timeless hip hop/R&B jams that has a few of the hallmarks of 90s urban production, but it’s not as if this is a complete throwback. Most importantly, this feels like a genuine expression from the Sydney-based rapper. It doesn’t sound like she’s aping an era or an artist, she’s just speaking her truth, and it just so happens to sound real good when she does so. Her debut album Creatress is out now. Give it the attention it deserves.
The Hold Steady – ‘The Stove & The Toaster’
When it comes to getting a fair and balanced report about The Hold Steady’s new single, can you really trust a man who spent far too much money following the band around the country last time they came to Australia? A man who can recite almost every one of Craig Finn’s complex, detailed and generally very wordy lyrics? A man who will spend too long chewing your ear off about his theories regarding Charlemagne and Holly after a couple of drinks?
Probably not. But I am what I am.
‘The Stove & The Toaster’ is the latest in a string of single releases the band have released in conjunction with their weekender shows overseas. And it’s one more sign that they are back at their best.
The song sees Finn once again detail a hairy situation, but he leaves the details scarce enough for us to make up our own minds.
‘Let’s just say they owe me a favour’ he starts.
Nerds might draw parallels to ‘The Swish’ from The Hold Steady’s killer debut album Almost Killed Me, which ends with the protagonist saying that he ‘did a couple favours for some guys who looked like Tuscan raiders’.
I won’t spoil what happens in the final verse, but I can recommend reading along with the lyrics when you listen to get the most out of it. Who needs Breaking Bad when we have The Hold Steady?
In the background, the band plays like the E Street Band, making this another perfect confluence of engaging storytelling and brilliant bar-room rock. *Sigh*, what a band. Sorry for that fanboy moment.
James Vincent McMorrow – ‘Me and My Friends’
Huge shoutout to James Vincent McMorrow’s brand new daughter, who has inspired him to make this really sweet and soulful little pop song. It’s just a one-off track, not part of a new album or anything, and it’s up there with one of his best. Fatherhood suits you so far, James. Here’s hoping that continues.
BONUS FACT: Old mate McMorrow has the best website going around right now.
Saint Sister – ‘Twin Peaks’
This beautiful hushed folk from Irish duo Saint Sister feels nourishing. It’s beautiful and warm and its lyrics are so evocative and relatable and charming. The band’s Shape of Silence album will be out in October, and they’ll be in Australia for the Sydney Irish Festival in November.
The Beautiful Girls – ‘Beautiful World’
Another slice of feelgood reggae from Mat McHugh’s longstanding The Beautiful Girls project. He manages to meld a few different kinds of reggae – lashings of that wild, dubby, psychedelic goodness up against a little of that smooth Johnny Nash-style fair – together and it all culminates in a feelgood track that’ll keep fans satisfied.