From experimental space-aimed jams to life down in the doldrums, we take you up, down and all-around the rock, pop and rap spectrum on a five-pack of the best new local music.
Kiwi pop-star Kimbra (pictured) offsets the straightforwardness of October's soulful "Everybody Knows" with fidgeting club banger "Top of the World". With production assistance from Skrillex, "Top of the World" compliments a bass rumbling spine with the singer's shape-shifting mix of swaggering "one in a million" bravado and hushed snarls, all thrown from a predictable course by a mix of angelic choirs and taunting nursery rhyme breaks.
Both "Everybody Knows" and "Top of the World" are set to feature on Kimbra's upcoming third full-length, Primal Heart, due January 19th.
While a diversion from their usual brand of smirk-and-wink garage rock, Girlatones' ballad "Misunderstood" is a standout from the Melbourne band's debut LP, Fitting In Well. Blurring the line between pop accessibility and soul-crushing despondency, there's an engaging slither of alt-country snuck in as well, serving as the calm lyrical guide to help navigate the song's series of crashing climaxes. The song comes suitably partnered with an equally engaging clip, where the "get through this together" mantra is ignored in favour of some good ol' fashioned professional competitiveness between a window washer and a leaf blower.
Girlatones kick off their album launch tour this week with a run of east coast shows taking them through until the end of December; dates and details here.
Melbourne-based rapper Pataphysics tips his snapback to Spike Lee's Mo Better Blues in the puppet-starring video for new song "Today". Recalling a Native Tongues-like delivery, the throwback track takes a positive outlook to a mountain of responsibility, with the rising rapper's laidback, optimistic flow fitting well with the jazz-touched backdrop.
"Today" serves as an intro for Pataphysics' new LP, Tip Of The Spear, due November 17th. He'll be launching the album at a headline show at The Curtin in Melbourne on November 18th, alongside sets from Audego, Sovereign Trax and Clandestino.
Strutting with the kind of confidence you get from "showing your face on MTV a couple of thousand times", Melbourne quartet Pretty City cut through the shoegaze wash with a blend of middle-finger-waving bitterness, Brit-pop lager-spilling cockiness and swirling psych chaos. "Nothing Happens For Free" serves as the intro for their second album, Cancel The Future, which the band are currently introducing on a 23-date European tour; remaining dates here.
As expected from the title, the match-made-in-heaven duet between New Zealand pair Marlon Williams and Aldous Harding dives deep into depression acceptance. From a minimalist start, both only offer a few light-hearted "la la la"'s as they roll out a welcome chant for the warm embrace of Cohen-esque helplessness, before eventually letting it engulf the entire track. From which, Williams (after all it is technically his song), is left not to rebuild but rather just kick around in the ashes, his startlingly haunting vocals paraded over a bare strum, shown at their beautiful, vulnerable best. An arc of despair displayed brilliantly in the accompanying clip, documenting a day-in-the-dull-life of Williams, as he stumbles through the stress as a service industry employee.
"Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore" serves as the lead from Williams' forthcoming Make Way For Love (due February 19th). Alongside the new track, Williams also announces an extension of his current tour, with dates now running until mid-2018, including November and May shows in New Zealand/Australia, circling an extensive Europe and North America jaunt; dates and details here.