Future Islands – As Long As You Are
Three years on from releasing The Far Field, Baltimore synth-pop mainstays Future Islands have emerged with As Long As You Are: a tender, compelling full-length that serves as their most cohesive and forward-thinking album to date. Assuming production duties and adding live drummer Michael Lowry into the fold as a full-time member, Future Islands sound inspired and alive across the entirety of As Long As You Are, thanks in part to the crisp and uncluttered instrumentals of songs like ‘Glada’ and ‘The Painter’. Meanwhile, Samuel T. Herring’s vivid lyricism and dynamic vocal performances on tracks like ‘Born In A War’ and ‘Waking’ are surely among some of the best in his career. It mightn’t grab you on first listen, but As Long As You Are is surely an album that rewards you the more you dig into it.
Blake Scott – Niscitam
As the frontman of beloved Melbourne post-punk act The Peep Tempel, Blake Scott sure knows his way around writing a song, and on his solo debut Niscitam, he proves his abilities with pen in hand over and over. Drawing upon a bedrock of post-punk, art-rock and garage stylings and embellishing them with his distinctively Australian vocal inflections, Scott well and truly establishes himself as a solo force to be reckoned with, with tunes like ‘Fever’ and ‘Kalashnikov’ possessing a dirty charm that nobody could ever disparage. Meanwhile, Scott’s celebrated lyricism is stronger than ever, and backed by a band of airtight musicians, Niscitam proves that legends never really leave us: they simply go solo.
Machinedrum – A View of U
On his eighteenth studio album A View of U, IDM stalwart Machinedrum puts an emphasis on the dance floor with a collection of eleven new tracks, fusing jittery drum ’n bass with thumping contemporary hip-hop to make for an absolute slammer of a project. Packed with feature guests like Freddie Gibbs, Mono/Poly and Chrome Sparks, A View of U sees Machinedrum bringing out the best of his collaborators, working in tandem with each artist to synthesise their strengths and coat his own flavours around them. Even on the three cuts without a feature, Machinedrum stands up on his own: the production on ‘Ur2yung’ and ‘Believe In U’ is simply sensational. Pure heat.
Sophiya – OVERDUE EP
Rising Melbourne rapper Sophiya has emerged with her debut EP OVERDUE, showcasing her distinctive vocals atop of a hotbed of contemporary trap beats. Packed with nasty 808s and dripping with swagger, OVERDUE positions Sophiya as one of the most exciting voices in Aussie rap, with standout single ‘CHIEF O’ KIEF’ packing her red hot flows atop of an icy groove to make for an irresistible party starter. Elsewhere, Sophiya floats over a dusty horn sample in ‘OVERDUE’, throwing in ad-lib after ad-lib to create a supercharged banger unlike any other, while the AutoTune drenched closer ‘FRANÇAIS’ hints at her melodic chops in a manner that’s still in tune with the hard-knocking bangers that precede it. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Joesef – Does It Make You Feel Good? EP
Glaswegian dynamo Joesef’s second EP hints at the makings of something truly great. Taking cues from Frank Ocean and Amy Winehouse, Does It Make You Feel Good? sees the young solo artist layer his breathy vocals over a smattering of luminescent indie pop tunes, proving to be the antidote to any of your close-of-business blues. Joesef produced the project in its entirety, and it’s in this department where Does It Make You Feel Good? shines: the simmering horns of the title track make it an absolute standout, while the Loyle Carner collaboration ‘I Wonder Why’ sees Joesef stack harmony upon harmony for a four minute slice of aural bliss. Super easy, super breezy and we’re wanting more already.
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