The sweetest Kimbra surprise
Kimbra – ‘Sweet Relief’
I wish people would shut up with their complaints about surprise album/song releases. There are hundreds of think-pieces about how they’re a cliché that’s now become passé, how they’re bad for fans or how they hurt music critics’ precious feelings because they’re not personally kept abreast of every damn move a musician makes.
Artists should be allowed to release music whenever and however they want and they shouldn’t be criticised for doing so. Cool.
Anyway, with that rant over, let’s talk about Kimbra. At the end of last month she surprised us with a new single and the world is a better place because of it.
‘Sweet Relief’ is the kind of funky, futuristic fun that makes you hope there’s an afterlife, because that would mean that Prince could hear it and give a little nod of approval. It’s the kind of intelligent pop that makes us want to steal Kimbra and claim her as our own (which we’ve been doing for years anyway).
More than anything, it’s the kind of pop song that makes us hope that Kimbra has lots more surprises up her sleeve.
Dream Rimmy – ‘Landslide’
Western Australia continues to punch well above its weight. This time it’s thanks to Dream Rimmy, a slick but slack indie rock band from Perth who channel 'shoegaze', but clean it up a little.
Drive-By Truckers – ‘Filthy & Fried’
Drive-By Truckers are not a particularly well known band in Australia and that’s a real shame. They’ve released records of a consistently high quality since the late ‘90s and this year’s American Band is up there with their finest.
On the surface they’re the quintessential American band, with their brand of classic rock sounding like a lot of heartland classic from the past few decades. But lyrically they’ve got a kind of depth that sets them so far apart from just about every other rock band around.
‘Filthy & Fried’ is a reasonable enough introduction if you’re new to the band (though you’ll want to check out The Dirty South ASAP as well) and with opening line like this, how can it not be brilliant:
‘Bottles falling in a dumpster and a stale smell rising through a sickening summer haze, to the rhythm of a boot-heeled hipster cowgirl’s clunky sashay of shame’
Even – ‘Little Piece’
Aussie indie kings Even show us how it’s done with yet another cut of classic guitar pop that has them sounding just as good as they ever have.
Jenny Hval – ‘Conceptual Romance’
The always challenging, always brilliant Jenny Hval released her latest album Blood Bitch at the end of last month. ‘Conceptual Romance’ is the perfect mix of beautiful and confounding and its film clip just takes the whole thing to a new, very weird level.
Naomi Keyte – ‘Undertow’
Gorgeous lilting folk from very exciting young Adelaide artist Naomi Keyte. The way it builds into a jazzy kind of soundscape at different moments through the song is unexpected, but totally seamless.
Jamie Lidell – ‘Julian’
Jamie Lidell is pretty stoked about becoming a dad. The good news for us is that he’s channelled that excitement into his music and the gorgeous bubbly soul of ‘Julian’ has eventuated as a result. Just try not to smile after hearing this.
Lo Moon – ‘Loveless’
This is a beautiful song from a mysterious band. Lo Moon give us seven minutes of lush indie pop with their first (and only) song ‘Loveless’. A bit of digging suggests that François Tetaz (Aussie producer extraordinaire), Chris Walla (ex-Death Cab For Cutie), solo artist Matt Lowell and EDM producer Andrew Bayer are involved, but we can’t wait to learn more.
Planète – ‘Nightcrawler’
Not sure how much more we can rave about Planète before it becomes irritating. This Melbourne producer is making such beautiful, engaging and addictive dance music that we're furious he doesn't have an album out yet. 'Nightcrawler' may be his best effort yet. Its jittery beats are beautifully underpinned by a solid synth bass and the occasional dash of piano for good measure.
Solange – ‘Cranes In The Sky’
Solange’s A Seat At The Table is a serious threat to the year’s best records for those year-end lists that can’t be too far off now. Her voice is perfect, the production is unbelievably lush and there’s so much hurt, struggle and passion in her lyrics, and all of those things are perfectly demonstrated in ‘Cranes In The Sky’.