Here's the cream of the crop for this week.
Friday has finally arrived, which means it’s release day for a bunch of artists at home and around the world. With so many hot releases out there to tuck into, we’ve compiled some of the best to present to you for the weekend. This week, we’re evaluating the first new album from Midnight Oil in nearly 20 years and a remarkable effort from Brooklyn experimentalist Oneohtrix Point Never, plus new music from Kwame, Mimi Gilbert and RINSE. Dive in!
Midnight Oil – The Makarrata Project
For their first official studio release since 2002’s Capricornia, Midnight Oil have teamed up with a who’s who of Australian artists to deliver the The Makarrata Project: a seven track ‘mini album’ that sees the band back in fiery form. Created in the wake of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – a groundbreaking event in 2017 calling for First Nations representation in the Australian constitution – the mini album sees Garrett and co. put a contemporary spin on their tried-and-true political rock anthems, and the results are nothing short of great.
‘First Nation’ features killer contributions from Tasman Keith and Jess Mauboy, while the triumphant horns on the Dan Sultan-aided title track help to elevate it to epic proportions. While the second half of the project may lack the energy of these first tracks, the message remains just as important, with show-stopping features from Alice Skye, Kev Carmody and the late Dr. G Yunupingu rounding out an immense return from one of Australia’s most vital rock outfits.
Oneohtrix Point Never – Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
Following his critically acclaimed score for Uncut Gems and production on The Weeknd’s chart-dominating LP After Hours, Brooklyn experimentalist Oneohtrix Point Never has released his ninth full-length record, fittingly titled Magic Oneohtrix Point Never. A heady, psychedelic collection of abstract electronica recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never is pieced together by garbled radio snippets and skittish jabs of noise, with synth loops and filtered drums providing a soothing bedrock to counter some of the record’s more abrasive and attention-grabbing moments.
The Weeknd, who also executive produced the project, turns up for a dazzling vocal feature on ‘No Nightmares’, while the inimitable vocals of Caroline Polacheck and Venezuelan trailblazer Arca also pop up on the dizzyingly good ‘Long Road Home’ and ‘Shifting’. It’s challenging to get through at times, but nonetheless, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never is a limitlessly riveting and rewarding listen.
Kwame – Please, Get Home Safe EP
Sydney upstart Kwame has been touted by many as the crown prince of contemporary Australian hip-hop, and on his new EP Please, Get Home Safe, he well and truly lives up to the expectations bestowed upon him. While Kwame sounds unfettered rhyming over the chopped-up soul of ‘STOP KNOCKING @ MY DOOR’ and the sub-rattling ‘AIN’T SO’ with Arno Faraji, it’s the Kanye influence that shines through the most across Please, Get Home Safe.
Tracks like the E^ST-assisted ‘WE CAN BE’ and ‘NOBODY’ feature all the hallmarks of the Chicago iconoclast’s production and inflections on his 2010 opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, yet Kwame’s energy and clever rhymes ensures that the project retains its own identity and even helps to push the sound in an exciting new direction.
Mimi Gilbert – Grew Inside The Water
Mimi Gilbert is a natural born storyteller: her lyricism is intricate and vivid, with the hushed production and subtle twists of her song-craft helping to lure the listener further and further into her world with each chord and couplet. On her full-length debut Grew Inside The Water, Gilbert delivers on all fronts, presenting an album’s worth of gorgeously written and performed songs that seek to uphold her status as one of the most exciting songwriters in the country today.
‘Society’s A Mansion’ pairs Gilbert’s breathy vocal harmonies with a sole guitar to let the poignance of the story sit in, while ‘Dark Storm’ a cataclysmic, exceptionally produced cut that forms the centrepiece of the record and might even be Gilbert’s finest effort yet. An essential listen.
RINSE & Hatchie – ‘Back Into Your Arms’
Hatchie and RINSE are two of the best artists to fly the dream-pop flag in Australia today, and on ‘Back Into Your Arms’ – the lead single from RINSE’s upcoming EP Wherever I Am – the two artists combine their talents to result in a bona-fide slice of indie bliss. Produced by Jorge Elbercht (Japanese Breakfast, Sky Ferreira) and featuring shimmering guitars, a soaring chorus and lashings of cavernous reverb, ‘Back Into Your Arms’ gleams in every way.
RINSE and Hatchie’s intertwining lead vocals prove to be a major highlight, and the dense production and mix of the track will throw you straight back to the glory days of shoegaze. We’re very, very excited for this project to arrive in March.
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