Trust is the debut album from Melbourne based duo Armlock. A warmly textured and intimate collection of songs reflecting on the restlessness of adulthood and the internal friction of personal growth.
Marking a significant departure in sound from each writer’s previous involvement together as former members of electronic outfit I’lls, the duo thoughtfully lean into the empty spaces and quiet moments on Trust. Crafting a soundscape that is richly layered but deceivingly simple and organic.
Each track on Armlock’s debut album is like a different still-shot of the same fleeting daydream. Dwelling on both familiar and deeply personal anxieties but cushioned in a reassuring and mellow, soft glow.
Packed with rolling breaks, emotive pads and featuring collaborations with close friends, Class Tourist – the debut album from Melbourne’s Morgan Wright – offers a fresh angle on electronic music after a year of dance floor closures.
In his releases, Morgan has always tended to bend the conventions of dance music. His formative years growing up on metal and hardcore punk before shifting to dance music have influenced his approach to writing and no less on Class Tourist. Drawing on post-punk, trip hop, IDM and breakbeat, culminating in a style that Morgan has coined “post-break” or “Australiana break beat”.
While the recent shift for many electronic artists away from a dancefloor focus to a more introspective journey is a direction that Morgan was heading even before the pandemic, this album presents a more considered excursion into a dreamily layered electronic universe for the Pelvis and Burning Rose mainstay.
Breaking down the walls between polished production and candid field recordings, to make Class Tourist his most intimate and expressive offering to date.
Visionary rapper and performance artist Mykki Blanco returns with their audacious new album, Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep.
With New York producer FaltyDL jumping on production duties, Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep sees Mykki continue to push the bounds of hip-hop, with nods to jazz, house, punk and even bossa-nova and showtunes peppered throughout.
The record boasts collaborations with the likes of Big Freedia, Jamila Woods and Blood Orange but Mykki‘s voice and style remains singular. From loneliness to flirtation, grief to catharsis, Blanco balances vulnerability and reflectiveness with their trademark swagger.
Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep marks a new chapter for Mykki Blanco, showcasing their refined artistic vision and sound, while retaining all the vibrancy and fun that they have come to be recognized for.
Sunny guitars, chirpy flute melodies and ensemble vocals adorn Alasitas, the newest album from Sydney oddballs Shrapnel. A warm and weird redux of tripped-out optimism.
Initially starting in 2013 as the bedroom project of Sam Wilkinson (Day Ravies, Mope City, and Beef Jerk), over the last decade Shrapnel have evolved into a fully fledged six-piece band.
Shrapnel’s new endeavour sounds more vivid and colourful than ever before. Alasitas marks an aesthetic shift for the band, venturing into decidedly more psychedelic territory with picked guitar riffs and modal melodies underscored by fuzz, hazy vocals and a whimsical woodwind section.
A distinct move away from the looser and louder punk sounds explored in their previous release ‘Wax World 5’, Shrapnel’s more meandering and expansive new direction on Alasitas leads us through extended instrumental segments into a hypnotic sense of freedom.
Melbourne’s EXEK return with their new album Good Thing They Ripped Up The Carpet, a disorienting and entrancing new iteration of the band’s unique sound. On this, their fourth LP, the band continue to captivate through their hallmark blend of post-punk, dub and krautrock atmospheres; filled with strange echoes, juddering feedback, ephemeral samples and melodically compelling guitar parts. Released via Lulu’s Sonic Disc Club – the new imprint from iconic Melbourne underground record store Lulu’s – Good Thing They Ripped Up The Carpet is an album in two parts. Part A comprised of material written and recorded over the course of 2020, with Part B made up of re-interpreted EXEK material from past releases.
Peppered with the absurdist observations, wry humour and nonchalant drawl of singer Albert Wolski, EXEK’s new LP further cements their place as one of the most eccentric and exciting acts in Australian punk.
Erika de Casier returns with her signature smooth-as-silk RnB on her second studio album, Sensational. Leaving behind the sweet naivety of her widely acclaimed 2019 debut Essentials, de Casier brings a moodier maturity to Sensational, while retaining her hushed vocals and masterful pop melodies. The charm of de Casier’s delivery lies in her evocative, tongue-in-cheek lyrics – painting a portrait of an empowered young woman navigating the often-toxic dynamics of modern dating.
Melding 90s and 00s pop production with a current techno and ambient sensibility, Sensational sees Erika de Casier pluck inspiration from all over, ultimately transforming it into something completely her own.
British five piece Squid deliver a topsy turvy ride on their debut album Bright Green Hills, conjuring both real and imagined worlds through their eclectic musical stylings. Amongst a fanfare of jazz horns, unearthly medieval instruments, intricate guitar riffs, skipping percussion, church bells, sounds from honeybees and suspended microphones swinging around a room of amps, the band’s boundless sense of creativity is encapsulated in a sound that is jaunty and capriciously experimental. Arguably the band’s most notable feature is lead singer Ollie Judge’s wildly inflected vocals – mostly spoken, sometimes barked, but sometimes sliding up an octave mid phrase, creating an unpredictable and cheeky sense of unhinged narration. Bright Green Hills draws on each corner of the band’s shared musical history, pulling from their formative passion for ambient and jazz on the atmospheric drones of ‘Boy Racer’ and the propulsive, hypnotic krautrock of ‘Paddling’’s chunky drum machines and synths. Steering clear of the gloom-ridden fervour of other British post punk contemporaries, Squid instead paint a more exuberant and frolicking sense of their ‘imaginary cityscape’ and ‘the places, events and architecture that exist within it’, imbuing their debut LP with a push-pull flow energy that ramps up as easily as it dissipates. Despite their often cynical themes, and tendency towards ferocious delivery, the sound of Squid is ultimately an uplifting expressive statement, making for an exhilarating listening experience throughout Bright Green Field.
Abrasive and disorienting, Melbourne trio Too Birds channel a headbanging energy with a dissonant blend of influences in their second album together, Melbourne 2. Comprised of rapper-vocalists Teether and Realname, and producer Mr Society, the trio have been collaborating since they emerged in 2016 with their debut mixtape, Where My Jacket, helping to explore and expand the forefronts of heavy, experimental hip hop in Australia through their joint record label and collective, X Amount Records. Melbourne 2 continues to push these bounds, dialing up the cacophonic dissonance, pounding electronics, filtered vocals and distinctive, twisted rapping. Filled with grinding low frequency bass and jarringly chopped samples, the production of Melbourne 2 looms over the horizon like an imposing vortex of sound, blurring industrial electronic and trap-inflected hip hop with metal and noise as it moves closer and closer, inevitably swallowing you up. With Melbourne 2, Too Birds create their own world of chaos and originality from the depressed, apathetic existence of an urban wasteland, flexing an impassioned middle finger to all that is left in their incendiary wake.
Experimental electronic-pop auteur KUČKA arrives with her debut full-length, Wrestling. Self-written, -produced and -recorded, KUČKA’s debut LP binds together autobiographical stories on love, growth and journeying, circling around an informative period of personal transition, spanning love, conflict, sexuality and maturity. The result is an honest, disarmingly intimate depiction of KUČKA’s lived experiences set to a thrilling suite of electronic tracks that meld the futuristic, saccharine sheen of pop and R&B with the complex musicality of her jazz and new age influences, all while harboring and cultivating a mesmerising weirdness at their very centre. Evoking early-90’s Björk, Wrestling takes on the deeply personal nature of its subject matter with an insular and introspective bed of sound, where textural layers melt into one another, unpredictably catchy melodies prove impossible to pin down and KUČKA’s distinctive, crystalline vocals veil themselves within the mix. Propelled by dark-hued bassline grooves, glitchy samples and detuned synth tones are stitched together in atmospheric, ASMR-like arrangements with fractured and delicate digital percussion programmed into wild, intricate patterns. KUČKA’s Wrestling is not the birth of some newfound popstar nor is it the stepping-out of a previously shadowy collaborator. Instead, it’s a revelation of KUČKA’s full scope and breadth as an artist – in total control of her craft, ahead of any curve, and taking her place amongst the most essential artists working in the margins of pop music today.