Matt Corby, of the wild wolf screams and paper-thin falsetto fame, is set to release his highly anticipated debut record later this year.
At first glance “Resolution” is classic Corby: hushed acoustic picking lying steady under Corby’s pillowy vocals. But it’s the addition of the clattering afro-drums and gospel claps that turn “Resolution” from a skeleton into a fully fleshed out being.
The leather wearing, guitar slinging, California slacker sisters Haim* may look like they’ve just broken out of St. Trinians, but at least they can craft one hell of a tune.
Courting a median age of 23, sisters Alana, Danielle and Este topped the BBC Sound of 2013 list – a huge indicator of impending world domination (Adele topped 2008’s list, for example.) Single “Falling” name checks everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Destiny’s Child, chopping up wistful harmonies over some heavy, scattered percussion. It’s a big single that may just be worth the hype.
What goes on up there in Canada?? For such a polite, chilly country they’ve managed to turn out some of the most prolific and successful artists of the last 50 years (Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Alanis Morisette, Tegan and Sara…), completely altering the musical landscape in a thoroughly unreserved and un-Canadian way.
From this great bed of influences, it’s not surprising that Canada still cultivates some of the most interesting music around. Emerging from Montreal with debut record Dark Eyes, indie rock outfit Half Moon Run have created one of the most impressive albums of recent years. In just under 40 minutes, the group have cut 11 tracks that balance skittered percussion with dreamy vocals, intricate guitar lines with bouncing keyboards, and three part harmonies that the Dixie Chicks would kill for.
It’s this profound ear for balance that gets the mind humming. Songs that manage to hold down atmospheric soundscapes with danceable grooves at their base work so well you wonder why nobody does this all the time. As a bewitching case in point, opener ‘Full Circle’ is a cold piece of folk – a thumping percussive beat with Devon Portielje slip sliding his way through the lyrics atop a crisp acoustic. On the jittery ‘Call Me In The Afternoon’, the harmonies touch down momentarily before leaping to the next line, spurred on by the clacking drum sticks.
They’re alright on the slower stuff as well. ‘Need It’ is perhaps the obligatory love song, but luckily the pillow soft harmonies will get you through. ‘Nerve’ may just be the standout, a twisting mid-tempo groove with a softly pawing hook. Sure, they may shamelessly channel Radiohead on cruisers ‘Drug You’ and ‘Give Up’, but it’s still viewed through their own prism. And it’s that distinct, complicated prism that make Dark Eyes such a sonically arresting record.
Built on a spine crunching bass line, new single from Perth thrashers The Love Junkies is a bruiser of epic proportions.
If you’re still able to resist, the throat tearing rasps from singer Mitch McDonald probably will get you in the end, but there’s a surprising amount of melody hidden within the chaos that keep you interested even when you’re ears are exploding.
Probably the most telling lyric of “Bow Down/ I Been Done” comes before the minute mark, where Beyonce sneers ‘I took some time to live my life/ But don’t think I’m just his little wife.”
In fact, if you had any ideas about abandoning Beyonce for another pop diva, this hard and fast cut from her upcoming LP Mrs Carter will sort you out quickly – pitch altered raps compete with slick vocals above the chewiest, most screwed up beats that producer Hit-Boy could muster up.
With old rival Taylor Swift currently occupied with conquering the pop world, Lady Antebellum is still serving up slices of Nashville country like there’s no tomorrow.
Rolling with stabs of Hammond organ and gentle curls of pedal steel, Downtown may just be the warmest song this side of the sun, refusing to be dampened even by the hilariously cringeworthy video banter.