New Music Friday Highlights: SAFIA, Courtney Barnett, JOY + more
If there's one thing to take from this week's releases, it's that Australian music reigns supreme.
Fridays are always loaded with new music goodness (being the preferred distribution day by music retailers and all), but this week, it's a tad more loaded than usual. Amongst releases by international heavy-hitters such as Frank Ocean, Khalid and Diplo, artists like Courtney Barnett, SAFIA, Cosmo's Midnight and Alison Wonderland have all stepped up to the plate to unveil new music this week, giving these internationals a solid run for their money – which is always fantastic to see considering how small and isolated our scene is in comparison to those juggernaughts over in the US and UK. Dive into some of our picks of this week's new music releases below – including ones from the previously mentioned SAFIA and Barnett – and check out other new tracks from the likes of Cosmo's Midnight, Tkay Maidza and Woodes back on our home page.
SAFIA - Freakin' Out
The Canberra boys are back in town with their first new single of 2018 - Freakin' Out, and it sees the live electronic trio going back to a sound we're more used to following last year's sojourn into psychedelia, Cellophane Rainbow. The track harkens back to the bombastic, soulful bounce of singles like Make Them Wheels Roll and Counting Sheep. They'll be returning to a very comfortable place over the next couple of months, that is big festival stages, as they hit Mountain Sounds this weekend, followed by tubular surf festival The Drop. And we get the feeling Freakin' Out is going to slide very nicely into their energetic live shows.
Courtney Barnett - Nameless, Faceless
Courtney Barnett has her lovers and haters, but her new single Nameless, Faceless is damn good and she's one of Australia's biggest international exports at the moment, so we're sure as hell going to talk about her. Nameless, Faceless is the first single from her highly anticipated new album Tell Me How You Really Feel (release date currently unknown, but expect it in the next few months or) and it's an upbeat and optimistic take on Barnett's signature, washed-out sound, bringing together her instantly recognizable vocals with a dense, guitar-heavy instrumental that is a little more lively than her previous work. That said, despite its upbeat and energetic sound, it also tackles some pretty substantial issues. "Men are scared that women will laugh at them / I wanna walk through the park in the dark," she sings on the single, using her lyrics to discuss the current social climate in the wake of #MeToo and other, similar movements. "Women are scared that men will kill them / I hold my keys between my fingers."
JOY. - Change
It's been a relatively long time between drinks for Brisbane's JOY., but she's now back in our lives and we're incredibly thankful. Change is her latest single (following on from her returning track Smoke Too Much three months back) and it's a stripped-back and delicate affair, with JOY. flexing her already well-demonstrated vocal prowess above a fragile, piano-fronted instrumental. It's one of those tracks that really contrast light and dark, with the soft piano melody and JOY.'s bright, emotive vocals cutting through the thick bassline which swells underneath Change's chorus. It's the newest taste of her forthcoming Six EP – her first in three years – which will arrive with an east-coast tour this March/April. Full details on her Facebook.
Didirri - Formaldehyde
Warrnambool's Didirri was one of triple j Unearthed's break-out acts of 2017, piecing together quite a substantial following with the release of songs including Fall and Blind You. Formaldehyde is his first offering for 2018 and it might just be the rising star's best yet, with Didirri really pushing the emotional level up a notch for the lush ode to all the influential women in his life. "Formaldehyde is about nurturing the feeling of being out of control," says Didirri on the single. "Making sure you feel it to the fullest extent in order to resolve yourself." Using a very Bon Iver-esque instrumental as a platform, Didirri is at his most raw and emotional on Formaldehyde, which has this really touching vulnerability to it that makes it all the more emotive. Catch him on a ten-date national tour supporting the single this April/May – full dates and tickets on his website.
Vancouver Sleep Clinic - Closure feat. Drew Love of THEY.
2017 was a big year for Vancouver Sleep Clinic – the music project of Brisbane's Tim Bettinson – with the long-time musician finally releasing his debut album Revival after a solid four years of consistently great singles and EPs. Closure, Bettinson's latest and his first since Revival, sees him link up with THEY.'s Drew Love for a woozy, R&B-leaning track that'll no doubt soundtrack the upcoming warm summer months with its bassy, snapping production and Love's ever-brilliant vocals. "Closure is a song that happened very naturally and quickly," Bettinson says in a quote. "I was with Drew Love in LA and the whole thing came together in about four hours one night we were working. The song is for when you have really screwed a good thing up but are way too attached to let that person go easily. I love coming out with it first because in a way it's a declaration of intent that I won't be going away anytime soon."