Julien Baker finds the spaces between the sounds
Julien Baker – 'Turn Out The Lights'
There’s a quietness, and a closeness, to the music of Memphis singer Julien Baker, and it comes through early on 'Turn Out The Lights', the title track of her second record of the same name.
It’s a song built around an electric guitar sound that’s been given a lot of space. That, and Baker’s vocal tone, might remind you of the Seattle singer Tiny Vipers, though with a bit more traditional structure to her songs.
'Turn Out The Lights' builds over time, with a doubling of vocals and guitar. It hits its apex at about 2:20. “When I turn out the lights,” Baker sings, “there’s no one left between myself and me”.
Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys – 'Plastic Tears'
‘Plastic Tears’ comes from Rot, the second album from Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. It’s out on R.I.P. Society, the Sydney label of Kitchens Floor, Naked On The Vague, etc.
It’s a tight, two-and-a-half-minute garage rock number in the vein of fellow Sydneysiders Palms or Royal Headache. Great chorus, hooky guitar line, lovingly absent any kind of hi-fi sheen.
Rot is out on Friday.
Juniore – 'Panique'
‘Panique’, by the Paris band Juniore, is a mad-scrabble little number, like a French Blondie, and there’s an element of playfulness that feels B-52s-esque. I have no idea what they are saying but you can imagine it’s probably very sassy.
‘Panique’ (which means panic) has an element of 60s French pop, like it could soundtrack a Goddard film. The clip, below, is also great, exploring the language of attraction – of nerves, a crush, maybe even love at first sight – without using words.
Fun fact: the band’s singer, Anna Jean, is the daughter of J.M.G. Le Clezio, one of France’s best-loved novelists and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Kaiit – '2000 n Something'
Kaiit, born in Papua New Guinea but living in Melbourne, makes edgy soul and hip-hop, slow and languid. '2000 n Something' is full of deep bass and tingling keys, and that voice – well, it’s just really good.
This track is more down-tempo than her last single, 'Natural Woman', but it loses none of the punch. We featured that earlier song back in August, and having been getting stuck into it ever since. Kaiit is definitely one to watch.
The Presets – 'Do What You Want'
'Do What You Want' could sum up the Presets’ ethos: hedonism, good times, no cares in the world.
It definitely feels like what we’ve come to expect from the Sydney duo. It’s another throbbing dance floor banger, built around a repetitive sample.
Once again, though, the band are able to use their knack for melody to keep things engaging. Chuck this one on your summer playlist.
Rhye – 'Taste'
Rhye are Canadian singer Michael Milosh, who used to release music under his surname, and Danish producer Robin Hannibal. The joined forces in Europe and are now based in LA.
There’s been a bit of mystery surrounding them since they started releasing music. Though they built an audience first online, they relish privacy. They asked for their faces to be obscured when The New York Times profiled them in 2013.
That simplicity comes across in their music. The juxtaposition of Milosh’s voice – so delicate it’s barely there – with the 4/4 rhythms here is so appealing. Add the woozy clarinet melody line and you get something really special.
Resin Dogs – ‘Como No’
'Como No', which means "why not?", features the British MC Essa (formerly Yungun), and has a real Mexican flavour.
It’s a party, the kind we’ve come to expect from the Resin Dogs, who formed in the mid-90s in Brisbane. They're still going strong, creating and collaborating, and are currently celebrating 20 years of their label Hydrofunk, home to Koolism, Ugly Duckling and others.
Abbe May - 'Love Decline'
Western Australia’s Abbe May is big on sultry, vibrant pop tracks, and this one is no different.
The backing vocals – “every time I fall in love, I fall in love a little less each time” – add a joyful choral element. Ditto the shakers.
“'Love Decline' is about a self-centered kind of love, a decadence and a sadness which tracks the rise and fall of passionate love,” May says.
Raf Rundell – 'Every Morning'
'Every Morning', the first single from Raf Rundell’s new record Stop Lying, is driven by a killer bassline. A few chimes of loose guitar sit on top, along with Raf’s voice, a beautiful, velvety croon.
The clip, below, is kind of like what you’d create on MS Paint during an acid trip, but that’s great. FYI, Rundell is one half of The 2 Bears with Joe Goddard from Hot Chip, if that gives you more of an indication of his vibe.
Ty Segall – 'Alta'
Ty Segall’s voice has a fragility that all good rock voices need. It’s a real asset: in it, you can hear the vulnerability that forms the backbone of so much good music.
'Alta', his new single, starts with just Segall’s voice and keys before exploding into full-tilt garage rock.
There is so much to like here: strong melodies; Elliott Smith-style double-tracking on the vox; and a face-melter of a guitar solo, late in the piece, that overstays its welcome so thoroughly it actually comes out the other side.