Folk-rock intimacy inflated, psych-rock influences softened and Australian tourism videos, minus the "lucky country" optimism. Nothing arrives as expected, in this week's unpredictable five pack of favourites from the week.
In their Tiny Desk Concerts performance last October, the amazing lyrical strength of Oh Pep! was spotlit, with songs structured around their unfurling stories and faultless folk-rock flow. Here, despite being upgraded with a new shinier, pop exterior the Melbourne duo (pictured) retain their whimsical ways, as a cloaked tale of relationship evolution slowly is subtly snuck in amongst the crisp production, via plainspoken rhetorics ("do you care to be seen with me") and an immediately infectious hook ("I know what I want and it's not what I need"). A brave, refreshing reshape of their folk aesthetic, which surprisingly hasn't had any of their undeniably human charm diluted in the transition.
"Doctor Doctor" features on the band's forthcoming new album, Stadium Cake, due out locally on July 1st via Barely Dressed/Remote Control.
With Strokes-level urgency and a pop-grande hook, "The Noise", the latest single from Sydney's Castlecomer struts in straight from a time before "indie" was a mis-leading label (or even a genre all itself). Double-time anxiousness, undertones of bitterness and a contrasting, explosive chorus — simple enough formula, right? But — not unlike fellow Coathanger City residents, Red Riders, the most immediately obvious reference point here — it's an amalgamation of emotion and unashamed catchiness that just works. Only empowered further by frontman Bede Kennedy's captivating swoons, which find him frequently stretching his vocal harmonies far beyond the rhythm-led panic underneath.
In support of the new single, Castlecomer head out on a tour next month, dates here.
On new single "Helluva Lot", Leisure Coast heroes, Shining Bird embark on a voyage "from the Great Dividing Ranges, River Murray to the sea", attaching a wide-spanning, detailed soundscape to judgementally blunt lyrics ("my head, it keeps on spinning, while the ozone disappears"). The contrast displaces the surface level optimism of the composition, all hopeful hints punched down from the traditional tall poppy perch with economically precise, self-depreciating assessments: "we've got a helluva lot to lose".
"Helluva Lot" is the first sample from the band's forthcoming Black Opal album, due spring 2016 via Spunk Records. Before which, the band head out a short run of East Coast dates, details here.
Foreign/National's pair of 2015 singles — "The Hedonist" and "Pacific Cruise" — found the Melbourne quintet warping their pop sensibilities towards a hazy psychedelic edge. Here, on the first taste from their forthcoming debut album, they remove all hints of hesitation: whole-heartedly embracing their silk-soaked pop urges. They're all the better for this more direct approach, with the razor-sharp production (courtesy of King Gizzard's Joey Walker) and punching bassline create a song that strikes the balance between a off-centre pop groove and dancefloor drawcard.
Organic and artificial. Intimate and extrovert. Heartfelt and distant. And between all these conflicts — Mossy himself. The young Sydney-based soloist is positioned as the centrepiece here, surrounded by a series of unclassifiables that allow his own elastic vocals — shifting between private confession and inviting inclusiveness — to retain the commander role. "Ginsberg", the latest preview from his forthcoming self-titled EP (due May 13th via I Oh You), offers a slither more insight into Mossy's intimate pop world, yet we still await a complete picture of this intriguing, enigmatic new artist.