R.E.M. wrote a lot of good songs, but their cherished place in my mother’s record collection meant I had a reflex distaste for them during my teen years. Since growing out of my petulant opposition, ‘Nightswimming’ has become one of my favourite tunes from Stipe and co. The hazy, guitar-led indie rock sounds of Sydney three piece Nightswimming aren’t too dissimilar to R.E.M., and they also owe debt to some of my mum’s other faves such as Cat Power and Beach House.
Thursday June 23 – Oxford Circus – Sydney, NSW
Perth’s Segue Safari are a pretty low stakes psych pop quartet. There’s no over the top theatrics, no deviant fashion choices and no controversial ego toasting. These guys sound like Oasis on diazepam; The Kinks with a Zen outlook; Tame Impala in the shower.
Thursday June 23 – The Bird – Perth, WA
I was initially reluctant to delve into the work of electro-folk act Meredith, simply because of the affection I have for the Meredith Music Festival. Wouldn’t want to tarnish that loving feeling, right? But overcoming this superstition led to the discovery of a songwriter with an ear for big, sweeping hooks and wintry electronic production. Thursday June 23 – Black Bear Lodge – Brisbane, QLD
We Lost The Sea
We Lost The Sea’s Departure Songs LP is best classified as post rock. There’s a strong chance the very mention of that genre has already caused you to lose interest. Fair enough – the post rock label is often just short hand for “pretentious wankers with a meandering approach to song craft”. But while Departure Songs has its moments of saturated sonic intensity, it’s also very approachable and visually evocative.
Friday June 24 – The Basement – Canberra, ACT
There’s about 96 people in The Fabric (well okay, nine), but their soul and funk tunes possess a direct intimacy, hitting ya where it hurts with deep grooves, sultry melodies and a heck-tonne of smooth brass work. Friday June 24 – John Curtin Hotel – Melbourne, VIC
Tassie punk weirdos Naked have the ability to make you feel uneasy. They don’t play beat-you-down-with-a-hammer hardcore punk or anything like that. But they do tempt discord, expose themselves as flawed, vulnerable individuals, and have songs named things like ‘Massive Cock’ and ‘Think About Death’.
Saturday June 25 – Hotel Metro – Adelaide, SA
Melbourne duo Pillow Pro practice a kind of experimentalist R&B where sensual choruses directly bleed into spoken word refrains. It’s an arresting – and continually rewarding – formula.
Saturday June 25 – The Old Bar – Melbourne, VIC
Ngaiire’s not quite a massive superstar, but she’s long been in the public eye. And yet people still struggle to pronounce her name. Understandable, I guess, but if you’re a basketball fan, just remember it rhymes with the first name of the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard. Anyway, names aside, Ngaiire has a new record called Blastoma, and goodness gracious me it’s good. Electro R&B production, generous soul melodies and a narratorial voice that’ll whip you out of your stupor. Saturday June 25 – Northcote Social Club – Melbourne, VIC
Slag Queens use guitars, drums and voices to write songs with familiar verse-chorus structures. But they’re not playing nice, vying for a place on your Sunday cleaning playlist. No. Theirs is an aberrant, dirty take on the established indie rock routine. Saturday June 25 – Brisbane Hotel – Hobart, TAS
MKO Sun use the ubiquitous electro R&B movement as their lift-off point. From there they realign with the progressive spirit that ignited this 21st century genre expansion – uniting the outreach of soul music with curiously textured electronic explorations. Sunday June 26 – The Foundry – Brisbane, QLD