From the edges of techno to unbound indie-pop, via alt-country, post-hardcore and Brit-rock stopovers, here's our collection of favourite new local music of the week.
"Fashion", the long-awaited new track from Sydney trio Holy Balm (pictured), is pop-electro linearity at its finest. A driving minimal bassline provides the required acres of space for flirting, edge-noodling synths and all other warped experimental ideas. Yet, there's more here. And, not just that brilliant injection of surprise sax (spoiler) in the closing quarter (provided by Marcus Whale). There's also, amidst the glammy '80s-esque gloss and superficially silky shrugs — a stronger emotive connection than their previous work, assisting in revealing the liberating — and completely adaptable — message of acceptance: "walk the way you feel".
"Fashion" will feature on the group's forthcoming new album Activity, due August 5th via Chapter Music.
Croaking into life alongside a familiar twanging country composition, crooner Cash Savage finds herself "falling free into a darkness" on tone-twisting new track "My Friend". Shifting from despair to optimism, Savage guides her Last Drinks' ensemble from the perfectly concise, dagger-like lyrics through to the uplifting instrumental breaks, led by the undirected plea for someone "to pull [her] out again". The gradual density increase slowly swamps Savage's blunt claims, the compositions prominence signalling a victory over her initial, depressive state.
"My Friend" is the first lifted from Cash Savage and the Last Drinks' forthcoming new album One Of Us, due July 1st via Mistletone.
"Jamaica", the latest track from Adelaide Brit-pop revivalists The Byzantines, is a swaggering hot mess. Brooding with Stone Roses' self-confidence, frontman Michael Pietrafesa directs proceedings, his lock-stock underbelly imagery snugly nestling in amongst the dub-leaning backline like a grifter in a booth at the old Elephant & Wheelbarrow. The smirking attitude that's aptly unseated from its high perch as the song slowly diverts to reveal its true self — a swooning heart-broken young man.
"White Cross", the first taste from Save The Clock Tower's forthcoming new album, The Familiar // The Decay, kicks straight into gear, a pounding rhythmic relentlessness crafting the initial spurt of unfiltered, white-knuckled tension. This aggressive introduction is promptly parted for the Tasmanian post-hardcore band's contrasting melodic side, drifting into a reflective haze while flirts of the not-completely-discarded displays of pain and angst sneak amongst the completive pauses.
This sporting battle of polarising personalities is aptly complimented by the song's video, which darts between blurred dreams and blinding, distorted band shots. The flickering frames feed off the song's compositional complexity, with "White Cross" showcasing the band's ability to partner an unpredictable vigour alongside genuine emotive release.
The Familiar // The Decay is due July 1st via Bullet Tooth Records.
While commencing with clarity, and a purposeful summer-chasing passion, "Schmuck", the latest offering from Sydney four-piece Betty & Oswald, eventually divulges into a beautifully muddled mess, with the song's second half awash with layers of duelling vocals and a teasing lounge bar composition that's clearly dying to explode into second gear. This strange — and stoned — free-form breakout not only showcases the band's wonderfully structureless side, but also frees "Schmuck" from the formulaic indie-pop mould.
Although without any immediate release plans, Betty & Oswald will play a pair of hometown shows next month — at the Visions Festival on June 4th and Newtown Social Club's second birthday party on the 5th.