I love the modern age we live in.
So much wonderful music from so many wonderful artists is available to us at the flick of a switch, so to speak, artists that we previously would never have come across unless we were possessed of infinite funds, time and indestructible ear drums.
And even then we likely would not have found them at all.
So in honour of the fact that we don’t have jump on planes to all corners of the globe to find new music – though that is ridiculous amounts of fun when it occurs – here are five new tunes from five truly amazing artists.
Brought to you by the wonders of the digital age … and me …
“Disguise” by ELEANOR DUNLOP
There is a vast and sprawling feel to “Disguise”, the first single off Eleanor Dunlop’s forthcoming EP.
Light, breathy vocals, seemingly plucked from a 1030s Berlin cabaret club, and swirling, haunting piano-driven melodies combine for a larger than life sound that somehow manages to sound intimate and epically far away all at the same time.
And that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the talented young Australian musician’s work, which is borne of a lifetime exposed to a dizzying, eclectic array of music, according to the biography on her site, eleanor.com (which features a logo of intertwined, rainbow-hued horses, the perfect choice for a woman who has spent a lifetime with them):
“And so begun her musical education, feasting on a spread of Beethoven, Liszt and Bach, interwoven with a broad mix of contemporary influences such as Eurythmics, Dusty Springfield, Kate Bush, Roy Orbison, Blondie’s Deborah Harry, and No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani.”
Building on her musical work to date, which included four years in the band Cameras with Fraser Harvey, which in turn followed the release of her first solo EP in 2008 (whose track list included “On Par” which won Triple J Unearthed’s Top Song for NSW, “Disguise” is a beautiful, perfectly-wrought song, suffused with the sort of raw emotion and intricate melodies you wish a pop musician would release.
That Eleanor Dunlop has managed this rare feat so early in her career bodes well for a future of richly engaging, utter beguiling pop.
“Ghosts” by CHELSEA LANKES
“Ghosts” kicks off with all sorts of far off, pleasingly fractured snippets of electronic music, vapourous trails of almost whispered vocals and evocative lyrics (“living without you feels like living without water”) before bursting into an chorus that recalls the best of Imogen Heap without once being derivative of it.
It’s drenched in the pain and the deep, heart-rending angst of visions “that comes and go”, a multitude of gut-wrenching emotions that drench every last note and lyric.
And all delivered by a voice that is both wistfully fey and robustly capable of singing through the pain, the sort of vocal talent that can’t help but be noticed and should ensure she isn’t lost among the phalanx of female artists competing in the same genre.
Chelsea Lankes, raised in the South of America, is quite the package, a talent on the rise with two EPs to her name, the latest Ringing Bells released 2 months ago, who is committed to bringing a rich authenticity to her work, according to her biography on sonicbids.com:
“My music wasn’t always like this, but I had to decide how to shape myself from the angsty teen poet, into the artist who makes music with longevity. I wanted to do something that represents who I was then, and who I am now. I hope my music, like my life, is anything but contrived.”
That she has succeeded and then some is obvious from the raw emotional honesty of “Ghosts” which like the rest of her songs is written by someone not afraid to pour all of who she is into her albums.
And that is where real, enduring artistry comes from and why you should expect to hear a lot more from this amazingly talented young lady.
“Without You” by ODESZA
Odesza is the ultimate musical marriage made in chilled electronic jam.
Combining the talents of Harrison Mills (Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (BeachesBeaches) and hailing from the dreamy surrounds of the lush Pacific Northwest, their music has already attracted plenty of attention thanks to the gorgeous sonic touches that abound on their first album Summer’s Gone, which came out in September 2012.
A pleasing mix of chilled jams and rare threads of passionate, jumped up energy, it heralded a duo with the ability to capture your heart in a tune and keep it there for the duration.
And that rare talent to tap into exactly how you’re feeling, whether you know it or not, continues on their new EP My Friends Never Die and its lead single “Without You”, which samples Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” to emotionally powerful effect.
The EP itself is a lot more upbeat than its LP predecessor but hasn’t left behind that glorious sense of arrestingly haunting melodies that made us fall in love with Odesza just over a year ago.
Emotions are a tricky thing to summon from any listener without sounding manipulative but Odesza, which flowerbooking.com accurately describes as walking “a delicate balance between dreamy sun trickled melodies, glitched out vocals, crunchy drums and large sweeping basslines” manage it with ease, creating music that is not simply beautiful, it reaches into your soul.
And it’s that emotional intimacy and authenticity that has songs like “Without You” on endless repeat.
“Radio” by The Royal Concept
Time to turn up the pace a little!
How about some hand clapping, guitar-strumming shout it out loud chorus upbeat, bouncy indie folk that is summer, the best day of your life and everything Willy Wonka and the Choclate factory wonderful rolled into one song called “Radio”?
Yes? And what about if the same band, one Royal Concept, an alternative band from Stockholm who have been knocking around since 2010, also threw in lyrics that hint at something a little darker than the sunny vibes the melodies of this fine song suggest?
Then you’d have the sort of seamless meld of light and dark that many Swedish artists excel at and which gives their music such richness and longevity, and endless listenability, and you would be happy indeed.
“Radio” is the latest track from the band who have a string of similarly sunny/dark songs to their name, songs that suggest to me people who appreciate the full range of life’s spectrum and can translate that into eminently catchy songs, which naturally you should be listening to …
“Feeling” by CLIENT LIAISON
The unmistakable backdrop of the Harbour Bridge in the band’s publicity photos would suggest they hail from the land Down Under and if you guessed that you would be right.
But the band, made up of Harvey Miller and Monte Morgan who have made it their mission in life to skewer the many and varied expressions of the Australian identity particularly as they found form in the 80s and 90s, are not from Sydney as the Bridge might suggest but Melbourne a little further south.
For all their devotion to parody – their clips feature references to everything from defunct Ansett Airlines to the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics – the one thing the band have never taken anything less than very seriously is the quality of their songs, which are laden with the sort of hooks that get their legions of devoted fans to their feet, a position they happily stay in for entire shows.
It is, after all, about the energy they give off, the dancing and the frenzied sense of fun that defines the band.
In an interview on acclaimmag.org, Morgan was asked how seriously the band take their music and he had this to say:
“[look at] the dancing feet at our shows … our hooks and melodies speak for themselves.”
Their music is enormously catchy and very easy to kick up your heels to, bottling up the very best part of 80s synth music to entrancing effect, and it comes complete with a message about reclaiming an authentic Australian identity, and yes being true to yourself on a more general level.
“Feeling” which veers more to mid tempo but is still quite danceable is part of of a trio of singles being released in the lead-up to the release of their forthcoming album and it’s everything you would want from a band that has its pulse, naturally quite ironically, on the heartbeat of a bygone kitschy decade but which is determined to make you dance NOW.
Which song grabbed you by the sonic short and curlies and won’t let go?