When Julie Byrne sings, you listen

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'Sleepwalker' is one of the best new songs added to Double J this week.

Hit the Double J Spotify Hitlist if you want to hear all the best new music we've added over the past few months.

Julie Byrne – ‘Sleepwalker’

It’s over 35 seconds before we hear Julie Byrne’s voice on ‘Sleepwalker’. That wait gives us a chance to sit in awe of her brilliant piedmont style fingerpicking and generally luxuriate in the stunning sound of her guitar. It’s a good thing too, because when her voice hits, all bets are off.

The way she sings makes you feel as if she’s talking directly to you. Earnestly trying to make sense of why you make her feel the way she does and whether she’s on the right path as she seeks love and fulfillment.

Her voice is natural and calm, but it has a certain quiet dominance about it. It’s a quiet song, but if you heard it playing at a loud party, you’d probably lean in to hear what she’s saying. It’s not necessarily what she’s singing – though her turn of phrase is astoundingly poignant – but the way she sings it.

There’s no chorus, nothing to grab onto and singalong when you’re feeling forlorn. You’re forced to listen. That’s not uncommon in music, but it seems significant here.

On its surface, it’s plaintive folk music that could have been released 50 years ago and could probably be released in 50 years’ time. But it’s so well written that, if you heard it at a certain time in your life, you couldn’t help but be deeply affected by it.

Alba – ‘Walk To 159’

Some thumping, melodic house to get you started this week. Sydney’s Alba don’t try anything too tricky here, they just slowly build on their groove til the dancefloor is full. 

Charlie Bucket – ‘One Life’ {Ft. Blitz The Ambassador & Raashan Ahmad}

 

Perth’s Charlie Bucket makes super engaging, feel good hip hop. Getting Ghana-born, Brooklyn-based rapper Blitz The Ambassador and New Jersey’s Raashan Ahmad (of Crown City Rockers) takes everything to the next level. If these three can get a tour together, it will be unbelievable. But this great track will do for now. 

Busy P – ‘Genie’ {Ft. Mayer Hawthorne}

Mayer Hawthorne makes us melt no matter the musical circumstances. So we weren’t even remotely concerned to hear he’d collaborated with French producer Busy P. ‘Genie’ is a big, bright, shiny pop song that sees Hawthorne utilise his pop voice than his soul one. Fans of French electro-pop need to get this into them immediately. 

Brother Ali – ‘Own Light (What Hearts Are For)’

Brother Ali dropped this killer new track while he was in Australia with Atmosphere last week. As we’ve come to expect from the Minneapolis rapper, it’s a deep, thoughtful, personal and energetic piece of soulful hip hop that reminds us what an incredible MC he is/ Given it’s been five years since his last record, some people probably need the reminder. His new LP All the Beauty In This Whole Life is out in May.

Holy Holy – ‘Darwinism’

Another incredible sounding track from Holy Holy’s latest LP Paint, which came out a couple of weeks ago. The verse melody will win you over immediately (it’s even better than the chorus) while the overall sound of each instrument in the arrangement will individually and collective cut right through you. Read more about it here.

Portugal. The Man – ‘Feel It Still’

Spacious and slinky indie funk from Alaskan trio Portugal. The Man. John Gourley’s falsetto is impressive as always, but it’s the little quirks and oddities in the arrangement that are most alluring about ‘Feel It Still’. Gloomin + Doomin, their eighth record, will be out sometime later in the year. 

Sacred Paws – ‘Strike A Match’

This bouncy, rhythmic indie pop jam outta the UK is incredibly charming. The friendly interlocking melodies, the handclaps, the duelling vocals and the lazy synth horns are all so much fun and they come together brilliantly. Sacred Paws debut album, also called Strike A Match, is out now. 

Tinpan Orange – ‘Hear From Me’

 

The ever alluring Tinpan Orange give us an awfully dark song of extreme dedication. There’s a lot of heart here, but something very ominous as well. It’s intriguing. Taken from their Love Is A Dog record of last year.

Toothless – ‘Sisyphus’

We told you about Toothless a while back. Long story short, it’s the solo project of Ed Nash from the ever-popular British band Bombay Bicycle Club. ‘Sisyphus’ is another showcase of his incredible, really difficult to categorise songwriting skills. It’s synthy, catchy and very poppy, but it’s got that British semi-sternness that means it’s not completely joyous. Accomplished stuff though, no doubt. His debut album The Pace of the Passing is out now. 

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