Washington – Batflowers
Australian indie-pop mainstay Megan Washington has shared her latest release Batflowers, returning to the moniker Washington for her first full-length effort since 2014’s There There. A sprawling release largely recorded over lockdown, Batflowers sees Washington at her most cinematic and unpredictable, twisting the constraints of pop music into something truly unique unto itself for a riveting listen. Songs like the tender ‘Achilles Heart’ and ‘Catherine Wheel’ once again demonstrate Washington’s sheer might as a vocalist, while the upbeat lead single ‘Dark Parts’ frolics in a 5/4 time signature and careens off into new directions without any warning whatsoever. Washington took on much more of an executive role during the making of Batflowers to ensure it lived up to her creative vision, and suffice to say, we think it paid off – this is hands down one of the coolest Aussie pop records you’ll hear all year.
Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song
With Inner Song, Welsh techno-pop upstart Kelly Lee Owens has well and truly followed up on the promise of her 2017 self-titled debut, delivering a sensational ten track effort that could easily go down as one of the best electronic releases of the year. Combining punchy techno sensibilities with luminescent ambient textures, Inner Song kicks off with a thumping cover of Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ to set a strong mood for the record, with ‘On’ and the climate change-inspired scorcher ‘Melt!’ following thereafter. Owens’ vocals drift atop of a cloud of synths and sub bass on songs like ‘LINE’ and ‘Re-wild’ to make for some of Inner Song’s more ethereal moments, while a spoken word feature from The Velvet Undergound’s John Cale on ‘Corner Of My Sky’ works in tandem with Owens’ transcendental production to make for one of the most hypnotic electronic singles released in 2020. Inner Song is an engrossing release that only gets better and better with each listen – don’t miss out on it.
Josh Pyke – Rome
Long considered as one of the best Australian songwriters of the 21st century, Josh Pyke has returned with his first full-length since 2015’s But For All The Shrinking Hearts, reminding us once again why we fell for him as a collective in the first place. Rome sees Pyke back in full force, churning out his trademark blend of indie-folk with all the gusto and charm you’d expect from him six albums into his career. ‘I Thought We Were a River’ and ‘Home’ stick out as being classic examples of Pyke’s songwriting prowess, while the murky instrumentation and a spirited vocal performance from Pyke on ‘Don’t Let It Wait’ makes for a dense, emotional centrepiece to the album. It’s exciting to see Pyke return to the spotlight in such a big way, and we’re hoping to hear more material from him again in the near future.
Disclosure – Energy
When Disclosure first broke into the mainstream no less than ten years ago, Guy and Howard Lawrence were still just baby-faced teenagers with a passion for garage, toying around with pirated DAWs in their bedroom. Only a few years later, they were situated as one of dance music’s most hyped acts, with 2013’s Settle and its 2015 follow-up Caracal netting the brothers top spots on the UK charts. Their latest effort, Energy, seeks to solidify the Lawrence’s holy trinity, delivering a record that’s jam-packed with bangers from stop to start and threaded together impeccably to make for their most cohesive effort to date. As per usual, there’s a myriad of excellent pop collaborations: dancefloor romper ‘My High’ with Amine and Slowthai is a standout, as is the steamy ‘Birthday’ with Syd and Kehlani, while other cuts see the Lawrence brothers link up with Channel Tres, Kelis and Fatoumata Diawara for a fat dose of feel good house and garage inflected jams. Perfect to kickstart your Friday arvo.
Private Function – Whose Line Is It Anyway?
A deadset party starter for any Friday arvo, Private Function’s new record Whose Line Is It Anyway? just oozes fun from every possible pore. Across ten tracks, the Melbourne punk outfit carry the spirit of classic punk rock on tongue-in-cheek slammers ‘Speed Bumps’, ’Evie Part 4’ and ‘Give War A Chance’, while tracks like ‘I Don’t Wanna Make Out With You’ showcase the band’s ability to churn out a poignant message when needed as well. There’s also a cover of Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’, which is a weird, if not welcome, surprise addition to the record. Also, extra points have to go to the album cover here. That’s true art!
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