From the road to the race track via carefully constructed dance routines, bushwalking exhibitions and the only word we probably can't print here, here's our five-pack of the best new local music.
Berlin-via-Melbourne indie-pop artist Phia (pictured) blurs the fidelity line on "Washed Away", flowing from cheerful minimal twee-loops to distorted grinds to stadium-scaled grandeur. She matches the fast-paced mood flip with a video wrap of her recent 18-date European run in promotion of her latest EP, The Woman Who Counted the Stars, from which the track is lifted from.
Next up, Phia heads home, kicking off a run of national dates on November 30th at Old Bar, ahead of shows in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra; details here.
The last time we checked in with Walken it was all wank jokes and smoke machines. So, is this growing up? It would appear so, as with "Unomi" — the lead from their forthcoming new EP, What's Your Environment? — the Brisbane pop-punk trio serve us heartbreak and nostalgic regret, alongside a significant straightening-up of their scruffy punk edge, as vulnerability, gentle keys and rock crescendo's replace their previous party-til-ya-puke mix of smirk 'n' snarl. Proving more than just a Centrelink cheat wrapped up in a cheap suit for a court appearance, the track is complemented by a clip equally all-grown-up — with a single-shot, dance choreographed routine stepping in for an expected handy-cam collage of shoeys and Jackass antics.
What's Your Environment? is due December 15th.
Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Daniel Trakell partners the title-track from his March EP with an enchanting video that captures both sides of his sound — haunting, melancholic isolation and just-off-centre obscurity — as we follow a woods-dwelling loner searching for the ultimate peacefulness — getting lost in space.
Trackell is set to perform an afternoon set this Sunday (November 26th) at Fitzroy's Rochester Hotel; details here.
Brisbane-based, Fijian MC Jesswar arrives with a bang, with her bring-ya-whole-crew throwdown, "Savage". But beyond the alarming nature of that hook (the rhyming couplet of "move to the front") "Savage" showcases a rapper ready to go, with her controlled flow swaying between laid back comfort and in-ya-grill aggression — and by equal contrast, her syrupy silkiness glides over a trunk-rattling basline. This is ol' fashioned chest-thumped bravado, done right — with all the chain-swinging swagger to back it up.
On the track's theme, Jesswar says it references her Fijian heritage where "my people were portrayed as 'savages'". She adds: "using that term was definitely thought out in reclaiming that terminology and more like a war call. Using the word c--t is important too, this is another word I'm reclaiming and embracing. This industry is brutal as a woman so being resilient and tougher than the next dude is necessary to succeed."
"Savage" is set to feature on Jesswar's debut EP, due early 2018 via Golden Era.
Much like June's "Fool's Gold", the latest from Jack River stretches the full spectrum of dream-pop, from wallowing self-pity to cinematic sweeps, as she cuts through a Del Rey haze with a hook of euphoria-via-regret ("I should've loved you the first time"). River says that with "Fault Line" she aimed to "capture the fragility of walking around your mind in the dark" and it's a sense of uncommitted ambiguity that suits the NSW mid-coast singer, as she's at her best in this mode, amidst an emotional wrestle, with us simply tagging along as she tries to figure it all out. In the accompanying clip, River plays out her race car superstar fantasy. Of course, it's a story all muddled up with love, heartbreak and Nowhere, U.S.A. imagery, perfectly so.
Alongside the new track, River has also announced a run of Australia shows, starting mid-March.