Dance, melt, dive, fly or skulk into the long weekend with this week's new music wrap-up.
Sticky Fingers (pictured) pay the ultimate hedonistic homage to Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (via a touch of yesteryear Australiana, Two Hands) in their new video for "Outcast At Last". All boastful, boyish charm, frontman Dylan Frost confidently snarls and struts towards the camera, whilst Seamus Coyle flees from the fuzz with milk and cereal flying overhead. Roughly patched scenes of self-indulgence and chaos that suit the Sticky Fingers' fusion formula of rock, reggae and balls-out bravado. Unhinged and distinctive as ever, "Outcast At Last" officially puts us on notice that the boys are only ramping it up further for their forthcoming third album, expected later this year.
Meditative finger-picking provides a perfect bed for Elli Schoen's floating vocals, as she sinks and soars on new single, "Hard Heart". Equal parts broken, redemptive and buoyant, "Hard Heart" (available here as an exclusive premiere) takes the sorrow of a folk-tale and moulds it into an honest, sometimes wise-cracking, account of a disappointing relationship. She oscillates between a mellow timbre, lithospheric high notes and crystal clarity, supported throughout by tender melodic movements.
"He has such a strong vision," Schoen says of working with pop heavyweight producer Joel Quartermain, adding that he "helped me structure my songs in powerful new ways". Quartermain has captured the vocalist's raw vulnerability, and although Schoen laments "You have hardened, hardened this heart", she doesn't shy away from intensely sensitive spaces. In the final moments of the song, after a chorus of empowered three-part harmony, her voice seems to catch: "So I let, let, let, you go".
Structurally diverse, though sonically cohesive, "Frequency Overload" is the energetic track from Oberon-based band Green Buzzard's forthcoming EP, Eazy, Queezy, Squeezy. The song plays with rhythmic movements, hanging on to phrases longer than anticipated and surprising with quick instrumental changes. Against the classic clutter of garage-band distortion, however, Paddy Harrowsmith's vocals wane, taking the track from subdued punk to the far reaches of Dunedin, striking a sound reminiscent of Flying Nun bands like The Clean or The Chills. With its brightness and vibrancy, "Frequency Overload" is ultimately a practice in youthful hope: "I never thought we'd see it, I never dreamed we'd be it".
Eazy, Queezy, Squeezy is out April 1st.
Pond Frontman Nicholas Allbrook gives his dry take on Australiana in the single from his forthcoming sophomore album, Pure Gardiya. Lyrics are often spoken, sometimes even whispered, and brilliant rhymes like "the miner, refiner, the web designer", or "the singer, the wailer, the Norman Mailer", imbue this track with a deep, sardonic wit. The song is somewhat reminiscent of 1980s power ballads, featuring piano counter melodies, driving percussion and some synth work that nods to a Portable Playstation. But it's the layered vocal tracks — the soft, melodic female voice and Allbrook's occasional sharp squeal — that underscore the complexities embedded in this track and its accompanying video.
Pure Gardiya is set for release May 27th.
Harking back to goon sacks, sleeping through alarms and hauling up in parents' games rooms, Verge Collection reminisce about high school angst with an unmistakeable Aussie twang. Led by a pulsing percussion, chords linger like memories, as "Class of '09" transports the listener into a space that's fun, a little bit sad, and undoubtedly familiar. It's as much a conversation with your 15-year-old self as it is pub chatter with your school friends, where each recollection is hilarious, but carries with it a sting, a clue as to what kind of person you would become. Verge Collective all the whole reminding us to "let it stew, let it fester, let it fuck with your head", tracking changes from adolescent self-consciousness into adulthood.
"Class '09" is the latest single from the band's forthcoming debut EP, Open Plan Living, due later this year.