This week's must-listen singles: Robyn, Methyl Ethel, Keelan Mak + more
Also, new music from Huntly and rising stars A. Swayze & The Ghosts.
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 Lana Del Rey, Tourist, SAFIA and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
Robyn - Honey
#RELEASEHONEYDAMNIT! Originally teased back in 2017 as the closing credits of one of Girls' final episodes, Robyn's single Honey has become one of the most highly-awaited singles of the year - which is probably why the world into a bit of a spin when she announced the name of her forthcoming record (which is out October 26) would also be titled Honey. Now, after we welcomed her return with open arms two years ago, Robyn has finally quenched our collective thirsts and dropped the single, and it's as good as we hoped. In classic Robyn, Honey is a synth-driven electro-pop epic that bridges her recognizable, club-friendly sound with her warm and emotive vocal, but in comparison to the triumphant returning single Missing U, this time around it's a bit calmer and more collected, taking a more down-tempo approach that sees the single sizzle as the thick bass kicks guide its five-minute duration. It's a more versatile track that showcases Robyn's depth while still cementing her trademark sound - something we're keen to hear a whole heap more of when the full album drops on October 26. Pre-order it HERE, and then go back to praying to the synth-pop gods that her next Australian visit is not too far away.
Methyl Ethel - Scream Whole
One of 2017's big local successes came from Perth's own Methyl Ethel, who with their most recent record Everything Is Forgotten and its break-out single Ubu, become one of the country's leading names in indie - even breaking out overseas. They've been relatively quiet since, but following up from their surprise addition on next year's Laneway Festival, the group have just dropped Scream Whole - which may just possibly the first taste of what's next from the group. Arriving with a pair of single launch shows in Sydney and Melbourne, Scream Whole is another indie-pop classic from Methyl Ethel with the drama and flamboyance of Ubu, matching their catchy, guitar-driven sound with the personality of frontman Jake Webb that this time around, sounds livelier as ever as it darts in between synth chords and a thick bassline. Described by Webb as "That cold sweat. That swollen throat. That sick feeling bubbling up from your guts. When midday movies dredge suppressed memories that scream for closure," Scream Whole is catchy, confident, and great reminder of a great band that have been quiet for much of the year thus far.
Keelan Mak - Flicker
One of our big finds earlier this year came in the form of Brisbane's Keelan Mak, who with his debut single Weigh You Down, proved to be an infectious pop newcomer with a charging debut single to match. After knocking BIGSOUND out of the park as one of the festival's much-discussed highlights and taking out a chunky cash prize thanks to the AMEX Music Backer Grant, he's now back with his second taste, which arrives in the form of a more low-key single Flicker. Immediately capturing your attention with a swelling, bass-driven production, Flicker maintains that bright and confident pop sound that Keelan Mak debuted with his first single but does so in a way that seems more emotive and personal, stripping his vocal of its triumphantness for a bit more a simmering vocal line that swirls amongst some rather RÜFÜS DU SOL-esque synth. It's a ripper song though that demonstrates a bit of versatility - something we're definitely keen to hear more of as he continues on an upward path into 2019.
Huntly - Drop Gear
Melbourne trio Huntly have become local favourites amongst their continually great electronic scene, with a range of singles through 2014 to 2016 setting them up nicely for two EP releases - Feel Better Or Stop Trying in 2016, and its follow up, Songs In Your Name, a year later. After a quiet 2017, the three-piece are kicking off their year with Drop Gear, a dynamic and twisting return to glory which may just be their best yet. It opens with an emotive and vulnerable vocal line from lead singer Elspeth, whose graceful vocal slides over the top of a house-like production which grows and swells as the single continues. It's forward-thinking, experimental and almost club-focused in production as the single's techy roots continue to grow as the single paces, but with the injection of Elspeth's touching vocal line, it's also an emotive moment that forces you to stay focused - never quite allowing you to fully embrace and find yourself in the production. Normally, that might not be a good thing, but for Huntly, it just sorta works. They've got that self-described "doof you can cry to" manifesto down-pact, and they know how to work it.
A. Swayze & The Ghosts - Suddenly
Speaking of BIGSOUND 2018 breakthroughs, it's hard not to point fingers at A. Swayze & The Ghosts. The Hobart-based four-piece are one of their state's leading name and a refreshing breath of air welcomed to Australian punk-rock, combining this accessible and slick punk sound with this indescribable chaos which gives it a fresh edge. Their debut EP - last year's self-titled release - well and truly placed them on the map, but their latest single Suddenly tears the map apart and burns it, redefining the band as a punk front-runner with the personality and drama of a band well beyond A. Swayze's age. In Suddenly, the band's instrumental is as lively as ever, uniting charging guitar with pace-keeping percussion that shimmies amongst the instantly recognisable vocal of frontman Andrew Swayze, which comes and goes in waves - from quick-firing and quiet, right through to the loud cries he sings over the song's more climactic moments. What a song.