This week’s must-listen singles: Ruel, Kaiit, FINNEAS + more
All this, plus new tracks by Ok Moon and Body Type to wrap up a big week in new music.
Header image by Michelle Grace Hunder.
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 Ruel, Kaiit, Ok Moon and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
Ruel - Painkiller
Over the last few years, R&B young-gun Ruel has emerged as an act with a Billie Eilish-comparable trajectory, finding a strong, similar audience - young, dedicated, and willing to do anything it takes to have that artist strive. As a result, Ruel has blossomed into not just a national artist on the rise, but one already making waves internationally, playing Tyler The Creator's LA music festival, Coachella with SG Lewis, and doing sessions in the US in between playing Falls Festival and touring Australia - something he'll return to this month for a full, headline national tour. Painkiller is his new one, and in its simplest form, it's a reminder of why we've come to love Ruel and his signature, sultry charm. Teaming up with his go-to producer M-Phazes, Painkiller is vibrant and bold, yet also soothing and subtle at the same time, bringing together woozy synth and crashing percussion with a soaring vocal that time and time again, completely floors you. There's a lot to love in Ruel and it's something Australia is quickly realising - make sure you do the same, before he jets off to the US and leaves us.
Kaiit - Miss Shiney
Continuing our R&B tip comes Kaiit, who with her more neo-soul-inspired sound, is reaching places quite unlike anyone else in Australia right now. Inspired by the culture and landscape of her homeland, Papua New Guinea, Kaiit's approach to R&B is one comparable to Sampa The Great - rich on culture and earthly sounds while maintaining the soft, R&B groove that keeps you repeating the track time and time again. Her latest, Miss Shiney, is a moment of self-reflection and personal intimacy, opening up as she swoons above an intricate, keys/guitar blend that allows plenty of space for her vocal to move and swirl around. "I would wake up really early when it was still cool inside before it got too hot and I would write and record on the floor because we had no furniture in the house," she says on her returning visit to PNG, and how it shaped her new round of music - with plenty more incoming. "I would stay and record bootleg demos in there until about 10am every morning."
FINNEAS - I Lost A Friend
FINNEAS is stepping into the spotlight, and deservedly so. Perhaps more recognised as Billie Eilish's brother, producer and friend-on-stage, FINNEAS is the next step in a line of songwriters and producers once typically only seen behind-the-scenes starting to break-out on their own accord, and his latest solo track, I Lost A Friend, is one you need to listen to. Following on from his loved-up 2019 ode to his partner of the same name, Claudia, I Lost A Friend is a track that feels darker and more intimate, crushing with its heartfelt and relatable storytelling and its minimalistic instrumental, which really gives FINNEAS' powerful vocal the platform to impact. "This song was born out of a falling out I had with my childhood best friend," he says on the single, which arrives in the midst of his victory lap tour with Billie Eilish - both on-stage with his sister, and as the supporting act. "I’ve made a lot of music covering romantic relationships and a lot covering family, but I’d never been able to articulate what it feels like to lose a friend until now. Hope this song gives you some comfort if you’ve ever felt the same way."
Ok Moon - Harpoon
If you're yet to be acquainted, Ok Moon is the meeting of some of Australian indie's best names - Dustin Tebbutt, LANKS, Hayden Calnin and Xavier Dunn - each interweaving one another's signature strengths in lyrical storytelling and songwriting to create moments of haunting indie-pop. After making a serious impression with their debut as a collective, Loved You Right earlier this year, the group have returned with another, this time titled Harpoon. It's a single that once again, spotlights their cinematic and emotive touch to indie-pop, with soft vocals intermingling with subtle instrumentation which really blurs the lines between the realms of organic and synthetic. It comes with a really striking video clip too, just note the graphic warning on it before you dive in:
Body Type - Uma
There's a damn lot to be excited about in Body Type at the moment, and not just because they're one of our indie-rock scene's best acts. The Sydney-based four-piece are tinkering on the edge of an international break-out, performing SXSW and a bunch of headline shows in the US, while back home, they celebrate the release of their second EP, the aptly-titled EP2, with a national tour announced for June/July. The full EP is out today, and while tracks like Stingray and Free To Air are obvious, already-released stand-outs, it's hard not to go past Uma - a seering and confident new single inspired by Uma Thurman. "During the #MeToo movement, I watched the exposed footage of Thurman’s car crash on the Kill Bill set. It was leaked years after the film was released with Tarantino claiming he was deeply regretful of forcing his lead actor to drive in an unsafe vehicle. I just thought it was an uncanny fictional retelling of what was actually playing out around the world... A rallying cry in support of women like Eryn Jean Norvill who continue to call to account the powerful," says Georgia on the track. Dive into the full EP HERE, and grab the tour dates HERE.