This week's must-listen singles: George Maple, Meg Mac, Vera Blue + more
Plus new singles by Collarbones and act-of-the-moment KIAN.
Every week, we're hammered with tonnes of new music from Australia and afar, so much so that at times, it feels a little overwhelming and you're not quite sure where to begin. Every week, we run down this week's must-listen singles and releases, this week featuring names like Meg Mac, Vera Blue, KIAN and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
George Maple - Champion
It's been a while since we've last heard from George Maple. The LA-via-Sydney Australian ex-pat has been relatively quiet release-wise since the release of her triumphant debut album Hero back in 2017, spending much of the time since working on her long-awaited follow-up, which now is a promising self-titled second album due out later this year. Champion is the album's first tease, and it's quite a change of pace for the musician, welcoming a more confident, tall-standing and adventurous side of the Australian favourite that sees the nostalgia-driven pop sounds of her debut album reduced to just a shading; replaced by something more bustling and self-assured. The focus of the single drifts between Maple's darting vocal and the single's thickly layered percussion, which grows and grows amongst swelling synth to create a platform for Maple to chant and sing over the top. It's a half-triumph, half-trial according to the artist, inspired by boxing regimes and personal - and societal - growth over the last two years, and whips us into shape ahead of a big year planned for one of Australia's most celebrated acts.
Meg Mac - Something Tells Me
Late 2018 saw the return of one of Australia's most consistently incredible names, Meg Mac, who after a little moment of silence, came back with something remarkable. Give Me My Name Back was a rallying moment of power from a musician who reassured us of her class, reaching her hand out with a powerful moment for " those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse; the women who are standing up and speaking out, those discriminated against in the LGBTQI community, the indigenous people of Australia and the children abused by the church." Now she's back once again with something a little more upbeat, with Something Tells Me acting as her forthcoming album's second taste. It starts a little tender and emotive, with Mac's drawing cries soaring alongside a budding production, but in its climactic chorus, Something Tells Me opens up to something really special, combining the pop-centric, clever songwriting of her past work with an extremely exciting future ahead. Catch her on a quickly selling Australian tour later this year, more deets and dates HERE.
Vera Blue - Like I Remember You
Speaking of big-name Australian pop musicians to make their return last year, a few months back saw the return of Vera Blue, who after two years of quietness since the release of her magnificent debut album Perennial in 2017, made a large-scale come-back with All The Pretty Girls - a song that "sits between the confident pop of songs like Lady Powers and her more traditional, guitar-backed sound." Now she continues to thrive, teaming up with Greenpeace for another single titled Like I Remember You. It's an emotive and glistening display of Blue's signature sound, which sounds about as polished as ever as her vocal soars amongst swelling piano melodies and clanging, metallic percussion. "Like I Remember You happened organically in a writing session with Julia Stone, Andy and Thom Mak," she says on the single, which soundtracks a video used to bring awareness to Greenpeace’s People vs Oil campaign against oil drilling in the Southern Ocean. "Once the song was finished and we started working on this collaboration with Greenpeace it seemed like the perfect fit."
KIAN - Childism
One artist I think everyone in Australia is keeping an eye on at the moment is KIAN, who over the last year, has stepped forwards as one of Australia's most exciting and promising names, making a large impression after initially capturing attention on Baker Boy's Cloud 9 back in 2017. Childism, his new single and first for the year, caps off a big 2018 - his debut single, Waiting, landed at #20 in the Hottest 100, charted at #16 nationally, saw him take out triple j’s Unearthed High competition, and currently has him playing the Laneway Festival run - doing so in incredible fashion as he marks his debut on EMI. It's a single on the prejudice and discrimination of the young, mixing powerful lyrics and songwriting with a subtle instrumental that combines the multiple worlds of KIAN, from the soft and acoustic guitar of Waiting to the shimmering, R&B-esque feel that shades the single in a more general sense. It's an exciting time for the young Castlemaine musician, and with a lot more planned for the year ahead, we have no doubts that by this time next year, he'll be one of our biggest names.
Collarbones - Everything I Want
Over the last six years or so, Collarbones have become one of our favourite Australian acts, uniting clever pop and R&B-centric songwriting and thick electronic experimentation in a way almost unmatched within Australia - whether it be through 2016's The Cut, their 2014 album Return or last year's A.I., which saw the duo return in fine, fine form. Now, they continue to impress, rolling towards the release of a large project later in the year with Everything I Want - a softly-sung and warm single that shines a light on the more subtle side of Collarbones' beauty, with Marcus Whale's delicate vocal gently floating over a chiming, echoed production that largely sits in the background; providing a platform for Whale's vocal over the top. It eventually grows into something more expansive and thickly-layered, with deep bass kicks and cracking percussion samples joining, but largely, it's kept to the minimal, offering something more emotive than club-focused. "This song is about the way that the whole world of things we desire will collapse into that point, that horizon, one way or another," says Whale on the track. " I wanted the song to sound like the epic ecstasy of being in that moment of want, to celebrate and honour its heavy joy and devastation."