Flight Facilities go sky high on their new collaboration
Flight Facilities – 'Stranded' (feat. Broods, Reggie Watts & Saro)
‘Stranded’ opens with some sparse piano topped by the light-as-air vocals of Georgia Josiena Nott, of Kiwi duo Broods.
Slowly, the landscape widens: we get a jumpy bassline, some light beats and, eventually (via a sick drum fill) Reggie Watts, his voice pure and true.
The songs picks up again with a percussion play about four minutes in, by which points it's all systems go.
What a collaboration.
Shame - 'Concrete'
'Concrete' is a cut of caustic British post-punk. The interplay between the lead and back-up vocals will immediately bring to mind Gang of Four.
The clip for ‘Concrete’, Shame's latest single (they’re yet to release a full-length), showcases their aesthetic: the pubs, streets and warehouses of South London, from which they have only recently emerged, set to take over the world. (They’ll play Laneway next year.)
This is a clever three minutes and 43 seconds of angry punk music from a band a lot of people are getting excited about.
Slowdive - 'Don't Know Why'
'Don’t Know Why' is another spacey pop number from the British shoegaze act.
Taken from their self-titled record – their first since they broke up in 1995 – it feels like it’s skating above the clouds.
The song falls apart in the middle, losing tempo, before revving back up with all the cacophony we’ve come to expect from the band.
Cut Chemist - 'Work My Mind (ft. Chali 2na & Hymnal)'
US producer and DJ Lucas MacFadden, better known as Cut Chemist, is back here with a song that plays on repetition – both of the sample, a pulsing tone that sits on top of the beat, and the vocal line “work my mind and turn it around”, which comes to feel like a mantra after a while.
The hallmark of this track, though, is the contribution of the unmistakable Chali 2na, of Jurassic 5, which MacFadden helped form and which hasn't been doing much since reforming a few years ago.
Bernard Fanning – 'How Many Times?'
'How Many Times?' chugs along with piano and acoustic guitar and a laid-back drum beat, reminiscent of 'I Won’t Back Down' by the recently departed Tom Petty.
Fanning has said he was listening to a lot of Desire by Bob Dylan when making Brutal Dawn, the album on which 'How Many Times?' appears, and you can hear it.
Sarah Blasko – 'Phantom'
The first track from Blasko’s sixth album, Depth of Field, has such an incredible rhythmic hook.
It’s difficult to work out what’s causing that. The woozy synth line? The syncopated beat? The delicate hi-hat? All of the above?
Blasko has returned with another masterpiece in the field of the sultry banger. Expect further such enjoyment when the full album drops in February.
Eaten By Dogs – 'Rain Won’t Come'
This is a lazy summer song, broad and clear. It feels like it would be perfect for a long drive in the country – sonically it has those ‘Wide Open Road’ vibes.
'Rain Won't Come' is off the Melbourne band’s second album, Anxiety Ain’t No Currency.
The band describe it as “almost a country love song”, but that singer Chris Litchi “fills the thing with such an ominous sense of depression and helplessness that it’s more of a ‘Steve Bannon and Donald Trump slow-dancing under a mirror ball’ sort of love”.
Joan As Police Woman – 'Warning Bell'
'Warning Bell' comes from Damned Devotion, Joan Wasser’s seventh album, out in February.
It’s a slow jam, built on chewy basslines and a spaced-out drum beat. It’s a contemplative track that arcs up via the string arrangements.
“If there was a warning bell, I don’t know,” Wasser sings. “All I hear is music soft and low.”
Tetrahedra – 'Either'
‘Either’, the new single from this Melbourne band, is inventive, but not so much that it stops being enjoyable.
There’s a complexity, an up-and-down-the-scales kind of joy ride, that reminds me of Dirty Projectors.
It’s not caustic enough for math rock. Could it be math soul? Better yet, why label it? It is what it is, which is unlike much else you're likely to hear right now. And that's a damn good thing.
Kiasmos – ‘Blurred’
Kiasmos is the project of Olafur Arnalds, an Icelandic producer, and Janus Rasmussen, from the Faroe Islands. ‘Blurred’ comes from the EP of the same name.
It’s pretty chill electronica – sparse piano, a quiet 4/4 beat, a building wave of white noise that was washes over the mix.
There’s an eternal sadness/hopefulness here, and you’re never quite sure – right up to the fade-out, 45 seconds of a lone violin – which one it is.