Turns out it’s actually really hard choosing only five tunes from the multi-dozens of belters which emerge from the dew-soaked soil (my inbox) every morning, but by gum, in Tim’s absence I’ve done it: DMA’s, Yothu Yindi feat. Baker Boy, Christine and the Queens, Mojo Juju, Ben Khan, and a sneaky sixth in the form of Moaning Lisa. Enjoy!
DMA’s, In The Air (acoustic)
Sometimes ‘AcOuStIc vErSiOn’ means ‘Here it is again but on one acoustic guitar, with the same vocal we recorded for the album. Eat it up dorks.’ But that’s not what this is. This is a slower iteration of DMA’s lead single from their LP of earlier this year For Now, with a real-life piano playing those reflective, briny lead guitar notes and expanding them into some cascading arpeggios. Then you get the acoustic guitar, and then you get Tommy O’Dell’s vocal, which is even more heartbreaking than the original. Gorgeous stuff.
Ben Khan, Ruby
It’s impossible to listen to Ruby just one time through without hitting that curly wee ‘replay’ button. I get an early Miike Snow feeling from it, but it’s far more detailed than even Bloodshy & Avant’s creations; it’s only got three chords but it is totally captivating the whole way through. Ben Khan’s debut album is due out August 10, and he’s said that “hopefully, this album will take you out of your reality for a bit and take it to the start of a fantasy place.” Ruby’s the trapdoor that’s gona take you to that place.
Christine and the Queens, Doesn’t Matter
To be quite frank, Doesn’t Matter sounds like Janet Jackson bundling John Maus into the boot of her car, then getting into the driver’s seat, and when she looks across we see the passenger is Sky Ferreira with a slurpee, and then they drive off into the rising sun. Héloïse Letissier (AKA Christine and the Queens) says that when writing the track, she remembers playing the bassline over and over for hours, “as if to rock [her]self.” It’s going to be on her upcoming album Chris which is coming out in both French and English on September 21 via Because/Caroline.
Mojo Juju, Native Tongue
Featuring the vocal work of the Pasefika Vitoria Choir, Native Tongue is the title track from Mojo Juju’s upcoming third album (out August 24), and sees the pop-soul-blues artist ruminating on her heritage (Filipino and Wurundjeri, and “born under a Southern sun”). Despite its slow pace (via a hypnotising beat courtesy of Joelistics), Mojo’s dynamic voice, as always, has a firm grip on your forearm and refuses to let you go.
Yothu Yindi & Gavin Campbell feat. Baker Boy, Treaty ’18
If you’ve caught sweet ‘n’ superb Yolngu rapper/vocalist Baker Boy live, you’ll probably have heard his version of Yothu Yindi’s 1991 hit Treaty – but to coincide with NAIDOC week, the official recorded iteration has arrived. Alongside BB’s ever-impressive flow you’ll hear Dhapanbal Yunupingu (daughter of Yothu Yindi frontman Dr M. Yunupingu, who passed in 2013), 21-year-old Gumatj man Yirrnga Yunupingu, and Noongar man Dallas Woods, who is Baker Boy’s longtime MC and collaborator. This is a jam, but this is also an enormously important message of solidarity and hope for the contemporary Indigenous community.
BONUS: Moaning Lisa, Good
This one’s been out for TWO weeks, but the video is only FOUR DAYS old so I say it gets to go in. Good is an alt-rock emerald of deepest, sparkliest green, from a Canberra four-piece with one of the best band names you’ve ever heard. They’re going on tour to support the single next month, and their EP is due out later this year.
Fri. August 10 – SYDNEY @ Waywards
Thu. August 16 – MELBOURNE @ The Old Bar
September 4-7 – BRISBANE @ BIGSOUND