Baker Boy ft Bernard Fanning – Wish You Well
For lovers of: Jurassic 5, De La Soul, Anderson .Paak
Baker Boy was wise to acknowledge Fanning as a legit soul singer, his grindy yet smooth tones perfectly suited to provide a vocal hook on a hip hop song. Rather than piggyback on the hit power of the original song to an easy win (see: Puff Daddy), Baker Boy forged his own creation that uses elements of the previous hit to come up with a standout summer jam. a million miles away from the original . While Fanning’s classic is about heartbreak and loss, this new version is about celebration and good vibes, about genuine appreciation and hope, rather than being a bitter kiss. Rather than dwell on his own heartbreak, Baker Boy offers love to someone else going through a rough time — a simple flip that makes all the difference in the world.
For more: Listen to Baker Boy’s excellent debut Gela.
Darren Hayes – Poison Blood
For lovers of: MGMT, James Blake, Savage Garden
It’s been over a decade since Hayes released an album, but his stature in the musical world has only grown since then. Much of this is due to an enduring love for Savage Garden, an act that scored two No. 1 singles in the US and more best of compilations than studio albums. While Hayes’ solo work is a long way from Savage Garden, his ear for a melody and superior songwriting skills shine through no matter what genre he gets his hand in. Poison Blood is quite an experimental tune, with dark lyrics hinting at hereditary addiction and trauma, and a haunting staccato synth. This is a slow-burning piece of art-pop, with Hayes’ incomparable falsetto voice lifting the chorus. The bridge is where the song goes into hyperspace, with a breathtaking voice reaching Mariah levels. What a masterstroke!
For more: Hayes has announced an Australian tour for January and February 2023.
Julia Jacklin – I Was Neon
For lovers of: The Dandy Warhols, the Modern Lovers, Courtney Barnett
Jacklin’s last single was a meditation on religious indoctrination, one of a number of heavy topics she’s delved into during her impressive songwriting career. Here she puts the pedal to the floor with a few puffing power chords and a hypnotic chorus: “Am I going to lose myself again?” “I kind of like the person I am,” she protests, one of the few lyrics trying to avoid her wild, “neon” childhood. The simple, repetitive structure makes this track closer to the perfect festival set.
For more: Pre Pleasure comes out August 26.
RY X – A thousand knives
For lovers of: Sleepy Jackson, Bon Iver, Rhye
Ry Cuming grew up just outside of Yamba, NSW, and remains largely unknown in his home country. But somehow he got on the wheel of bowerbird superstar Drake and produced the song Sticky from his new album, which hit number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 a few weeks ago. Those looking to discover RY X records based on this unlikely connection will be in for a shock, as the lush, harmony-infused folk of A Thousand Knives belong less in a sweaty Florida nightclub and more in a mountain cabin. This is a truly transcendent single from his fourth full length album, the equally hushed Blood Moon. Just put on this song, relax and float downstream.
For more: Blood Moon is out now, or check out his equally amazing album, 2019’s Unfurl.
Stella Donnelly – Flood
For lovers of: Missy Higgins, Ben Folds, Alex Go
Donnelly said her latest single, written in the rainy depths of a Melbourne winter lockdown, is a “sad little adventure”. While this may be true lyrically, the actual tune belies any bleak beginnings the song has had, with an upbeat drum beat, sparse twanging guitars and a plunging piano accompanying a cheery little melody. Donnelly’s charming ocker voice fits well with this kind of pocket-sized story, the lack of pretension perfectly displayed in one-liners like, “I’m a stitch on your new scarf, holding on to hope.”
For more: Her second album Flood will be released on August 26. Listen to the first track, Lungs.
Ryan Sterling – How Time Flies
For lovers of: David Crosby, the Jayhawks, early Wilco
The passage of time is one of the most widely used songwriting tropes, due to the simple fact that it is the most universal experience known to mankind; memories fade, people leave, songs are written. Sterling has an impressive backlog of albums and his latest, Specks of Golden Dust, is out on legendary Sydney label Half a Cow, a very suitable place for these sixties leaning folk to land. How Time Flies is the opening track of his new album, and despite the title Sterling is in no rush to rush through this laconic tune, his unique fingerpicking style and warm voice as comforting as a lazy day spent in the lounge, diving into – bombing adds a country touch to the proceedings.
For more: Check out Specks of Golden Dust and then go back through its entire catalog.
Ben Lee ft Washington – Parents Get High
For lovers of: Architecture in Helsinki, K Records, She & Him
Early last year, Lee and his wife, the actor Ione Skye, hosted a series of rickety evenings in Sydney, aptly titled Weirder Together. Between stand-up and improv theatre, Lee would perform a new song inspired by the “weird” parties his parents threw when he was a kid, where all the normally sane adults would get giggling and a little too loud, much to the amazement of the kids. . It’s safe to say that Lee has hosted his fair share of similar soirees ever since, and this charming, recognizable song comes from both experiences. Megan Washington provides soothing background vocals that add a beautiful sound quality to this plodding ode to drug use and child wonders, two things that do not seem to be mutually exclusive.
For more: Ben Lee’s album I’m Fun will be released on August 19.
Kav Temperley and Katy Steele – Graduation Day
For lovers of: Little Birdy, Eskimo Joe, End of Fashion
As two of Perth’s best songwriters and singers, it comes as a surprise that Eskimo Joe’s Temperley and Little Birdy frontwoman Steele had never worked together for this romantic, nostalgic ode. Temperley is stuck at a standstill doing the same small-town things he did as a teenager, while Steele has long since flown away. Musically, it’s a driving pop song, luscious and layered, with more than a passing resemblance to the second half of the Eskimo Joe catalog. Their two voices complement each other nicely, and it’s a joy to hear Steele’s stunning vocals for the first time since her 2016 solo album Human.
For more: Kav Temperley hits the road this month for a regional tour, starting July 14 in Froth in Exmouth, Western Australia.
Waax – Read receipts
For lovers of: PJ Harvey, Placebo, Belly
Drake’s new song Texts Go Green describes the specific heartache of blocking your iMessage texts. Likewise, WAAX’s explosive new single refers to ‘stay on read’ – when a message has been seen by the recipient, who has not replied. It’s a very modern problem, and one that will seem as baffling to future generations as the “save” floppy disk icon for kids must feel now. Waax’s somewhat retro sound adds a pleasing juxtaposition to what is otherwise a straightforward pop-rock tune in the vein of PJ Harvey et al.
For more: WAAX’s album At Least I’m Free will be released on August 5.
Phil Jamieson – Lights on
For lovers of: Grinspoon, Even, Tim Rogers
Even as the wild teenage frontman of Triple J favorites Grinspoon, Jamieson had an inescapable understanding of melody, whether he was chirping a bouncing tune in mockney or screaming over distorted wah guitars. Lights On is the third single from his upcoming solo debut and it is the strongest album he has released to date. With a stuttering guitar riff that belongs on a 90s Hottest 100 compilation, and an irresistible chorus of hand clapping and falsetto, it would be a shame if this tune isn’t rewarded with heavy commercial airplay. There’s even a shalala outro to really hammer home that this is a classic Jamieson song, to hoist in the rafters alongside Busy, No Reason and Just Ace.
For more: Someone Else will be out July 29. Jamieson tours the country in July and August.