Melbourne mainstay Ella Thompson shines on new single 'Snow'
It's September, already - you know how the saying goes: Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where all of my future favourite music is? Well, right here with Double J, and in our Spotify playlist, which is always topped up with excellent tunes, regardless of the season.
Ella Thompson – ‘Snow’
Nobody’s doubting Ella Thompson’s numbers on the board. She’s a fixture of the Melbourne music scene who’s put in great work heading up electro twosome GL, making avant-garde pop with Dorsal Fins, and even singing with The Bamboos and Mark Ronson. However, it’s been a while since she stepped out on her own.
‘Snow’, her first solo offering in three years, is a sumptuous song of longing and beauty that not only draws on her seasoned experience but proves Ella Thompson is ready to shine as her own star.
The track, which premiered on Double J Mornings last week, blooms slowly, with verdant strings and splashes of piano seeping their way into the dewy soundscape flowing beneath Thompson’s vocals. The luxurious production subtly builds before blossoming into a gorgeous climax, complete with a soaring high note, before gently fading out of earshot.
Much like the fading smoke and melting snow Thompson sings of, it’s temporary but nothing short of gorgeous while it lasts.
Ella Thompson releases her new EP, Hysteria, later this year via her own record label and arts publication Pool.
Disclosure - 'Where Angels Fear To Tread'
Guy and Howard Lawrence have already proven they’re adept at working with a diverse range of collaborators, it’s what’s pushed the British siblings to the top of this decade’s electronic music ranks, but they’re bloody handy with a sample too.
Enter ‘Where Angels Fear To Tread’, the prime pick of five (!) new surprise tracks Disclosure dropped in late August. It retunes the barbershop harmonies of a 1961 single by The Four Freshman into a spacey bop, giving it some tweaked synths and futuristic flash without erasing the antique charm of the original’s syrupy vocals and strings.
Disclosure are currently working on their third album, the follow-up to 2015's Caracal, expected to drop later this year.
Nakhane - ‘Clairvoyant’
Generic love songs typically deal with the head over heels rush of romance, or the heartbreak and biting bitterness that follows when it runs dry. South African musician and actor Nakhane seeks to blur those boundaries, conveying how those emotional extremes can be encapsulated in a single relationship, from moment to moment, on ‘Clairvoyant’.
Fittingly it’s a track of contrasts, juxtaposing the sharp with the sultry, Nakhane’s silky falsetto jostling for space among insistent beats and growling guitars. That tug-of-war is underscored in a steamy video, which was flagged as “inappropriate” by YouTube, much to the anger of the artist.
Interpol – ‘If You Really Love Nothing’
This is the opening track to Marauder – the New York City post-punk band’s sixth album, which brings them Down Under this New Year’s to play Falls Festival.
It’s also the current favourite of frontman Paul Banks. “I think it’s a rich dish,” he told Tim Shiel on Double J Arvos. “[It] goes into more meditative passages and is a more thoughtful reflective song on romance and the difficulties of partnerships. I think it’s a nice follow-up to [lead singles] ‘The Rover’ and ‘Number 10’, which are pretty straightforward rock jams. This one has more of a sensitive side.”
RELATED: 'Oh my god, whatta car!' Interpol's Paul Banks wants to fang in a ute when the band tours Australia
NИLL – 'Plosive'
Are you a recovering raver? Then you owe it to yourself to relapse with a dose of NИLL (pronounced Null), the electronic non de plume of Melbourne producer Hayden Quinn. Putting a modern spin on late 90s trance, his emotive techno track ‘Plosive’ will make perfect sense to anyone who’s ever found the joys of bathing themselves in strobe lights during the graveyard hours at some nondescript warehouse. The only downside to this progressive four-and-a-half minute journey? You’ll want the euphoria to last longer.
We’re ready to go deeper down the trance hole when NИLL releases his debut album Med on Wednesday 17 October.
Doe Paoro – ‘Over’
L.A. songwriter Sonia Kreitzer, who makes music as Doe Paoro, has ditched the electro-acoustic swells of her 2015 album After for a more vintage approach. To achieve an authentic sound, she jetted to London and recorded live to tape with a crack studio band, in sessions overseen by Amy Winehouse/Adele producer Jimmy Hogarth.
‘Over’ shows the investment seems to have paid off, her smoky vocals fronting ‘60s girl-group harmonies and a warm arrangement of tinkling piano, lilting organ, and gentle guitars.
'Over' heralds the arrival of Doe Paoro’s new album Soft Power, out Friday 19 October.
ALTA – 'Figured Out'
Melbourne duo ALTA are Double J regulars, having released a string of inventive electronic tracks over the years. After releasing the up-and-down house burner ‘Now That You Want Me’ earlier this year, they’ve followed it up with what can best be described as emotive club music.
‘Figured Out’ pairs Hannah Lesser’s lonesome vocals with restrained, near-ambient verses that build until Julius Downson’s skittish beats bubble over. A four-to-the-floor tearjerker, the track hits the finish line with some terrific sliced-and-pitched soul vocals. It’s accomplished stuff.
Timberwolf – 'Proud Silence'
Restlessly creative Adelaide artist Timberwolf (real name: Christopher Panousakis) isn’t slowing down after the release of his debut album last year, Íkaros. He’s pressed onward with a single that further pushes genre boundaries. Soaking in warm piano, escalating synths, and slow-mo vocal phrasing, ‘Proud Silence’ seeks to soothe inner conflict with a simple message we can all get behind: ‘The more you talk, the easier it gets/ so don’t be shy, to call upon a friend’.