Arms Akimbo – ‘Level Completed’
This little gem comes from Josh Bush, drummer in Sydney band Low Lux, now going solo under the name Arms Akimbo. ‘Level Completed’ channels elements of 80s pop and Balearic house, Bush’s falsetto gelling seamlessly with the snappy guitar and muted toms. It’s a stylish debut, low key yet cathartic.
Hospital – ‘Daniel’
This track from Melbourne outfit Hospital has really earned the Xiu Xiu comparisons (and supposedly got the nod from Jamie Stewart himself). ‘Daniel’ is all screams and sawing guitar, Al Dodds’ voice quivering in disgust as he addresses an absent father figure. There’s adolescent angst here, but the delivery hits hard. Hospital’s latest record, Describing Bodies, is being reissued through Skydreams on 11 January.
Us the Band – ‘And I Will’
The newest signing to Rice is Nice, Sydney duo Us the Band make up for their lack of manpower with overdrive and manic energy. ‘And I Will’ is the second single from a forthcoming EP. It’s characteristically short and sharp, with shredded vocals and a neat hook.
I’lls – ‘Let Me Have Just One (Planete remix)’
I never understood the hype around I’lls. The songs are pretty, and I admire their minimalist touch, but they’re so derivative of Radiohead (and Thom Yorke more generally), it’s kind of embarrassing. Planete‘s remix of ‘Let Me Have Just One’ – a standout track from their swan song, the awkwardly titled Can I Go with You to Go Back to My Country – elevates the original to real body music: something you can feel in your muscles and bones. Which is what the Melbourne producer excels at – driving delicate samples into a whirlwind, his rattling textures swept along by grinding bass.
Golden Girls – ‘Life of the Party’
Melbourne three-piece Golden Girls make slowcore for the present day, using synths, drum machines and loads of reverb. The Golden Hour EP was recorded under the auspices of Brunswick-based Smooch Records, with mixing from Rat & Co.‘s Joshua Delaney and mastering by Mikey Young. The trip-hop leaning numbers are perhaps slightly undercooked, but the narcotic guitar loop of penultimate track ‘Life of the Party’ works well. Tim McNeill’s disembodied lyrics sum up the mood: “I really think I might be too stoned/I think we should go home”.
OM Collective – ‘I Didn’t Know I was Trouble’
For his first single as OM Collective, Sydneysider Tim Ferson has released a chamber folk reworking of Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’. This is a bloke who looks like Father John Misty taking a trip at Earthcore, so it can be hard to disentangle the earnestness from the irony. Nonetheless, Ferson’s orchestral melancholy is a nice counterpoint to Taylor’s focus-grouped mix of spite and nostalgia.