LNWY Recommends: October’s Best New Music

Missy Scheinberg and Dom O’Connor – from the Laneway offices in New York and Sydney, respectively – team up for the best tracks of the month.

‘Born’

Lou The Human

The hip-hop scene of late tends towards melodic and trendy: relying on style and frills rather than straight-up rapping capabilities. But then there’s Lou The Human: the 21-year-old from Staten Island (yes, he shares a hometown with Wu-Tang Clan), who is the antithesis of the SoundCloud Rap movement with clever lyricism and a sharp, Eminem-like rhythmic flow while maintaining his own punk ethos. While ‘Born’ is a clear standout track, his debut Humaniac is a refreshing listen from a rapper who can really rap. – Missy

‘Loving Is Easy’

Rex Orange County

Alex O’Connor, the 19-year old London songwriter who calls himself Rex Orange County, sounds like he enjoys yacht-rock. There’s an amiable, easy-listening quality to ‘Loving Is Easy’: the bright keyboards bouncing off a buoyant bass line and O’Connor’s warm tenor. Like the best Hall & Oates tune, ‘Loving Is Easy’ also keeps it simple, wrapping it up in a wholesome two-and-a-half minutes and keeping things as breezy and effortless as possible. – Dom

‘Wait In The Car’

The Breeders

When it comes to rock music in 2017, even The New York Times agrees that ladies are leading the pack. So what better time for ’90s groundbreakers The Breeders to return with their first new music in eight years (!). The blazing, barely two-minute ‘Wait In The Car’ is well worth the wait, with the 4AD outfit sounding as punchy, class and fresh as ever in this current indie rock climate. – Missy

‘Motionless’

Exhibitionist

Sydney-via-Brisbane transplant Kirsty Tickle’s Exhibitionist trades in the harmonies of her old band Little Scout and the brutal assault of her other band Party Dozen for sparse, minimal beats and an alluring sense of mystery. While ‘Motionless’ is only her second single, it already feels fully-formed in the extreme – from the syncopated percussion to the stabbing shouts that punctuate the chorus and give the song its restless energy. Tickle’s skill as both a songwriter and arranger means ‘Motionless’ has an endlessly replayable quality, and extra points for that delicious double-time drum fill every eight bars. – Dom

‘Wound Up Tight’

Artificial Pleasure

Just under 18 months since releasing their debut single, London four-piece Artificial Pleasure has returned with the immediate ’Wound Up Tight’, making it seven-for-seven in terms of killer tracks. Fusing technicolour synths and dance-ready grooves with David Bowie-influenced vocals, you wonder why the rest of the world isn’t fawning over the UK outfit yet. And while I hate making such grandiose comparisons, if this doesn’t sound like a modernised Talking Heads tune, I’m not sure what would. – Missy

‘Teenage Witch’

John Maus

One political science dissertation later, John Maus is back with his first new record in six years, Screen Memories. ‘Teenage Witch’ doesn’t stray too far from the singular voice Maus has found within his music so far, with analogue synths gurgling in the background while Maus ominously recounts his teenage years in his distinct baritone. While it’s certainly not Maus’ most complex lyric, his mastery of creating a mood and the curtains of reverb around the entire song makes his nostalgia both palatable and menacing for the listener. – Dom

‘Loud Patterns’

Makeness

His 2016 collaboration with UK outfit Adult Jazz, ‘Other Life’, steered indie rock; and this year’s industrial-yet-ambient Temple Works EP channelled his inner-Jon Hopkins. But on ‘Loud Patterns’, Scottish artist-producer Makeness shows us he’s found his niche.The new Secretly Canadian signee effortlessly intertwines distorted guitars, his signature driving pulse, and colourful synths (think Holy Fuck) with a melodic tenor voice that recalls Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, but remains truly his own. It’s this combination of distorted electronics and rich melody makes him an artist worth keeping your eye on. – Missy

‘Thawing Dawn’

A Savage

Parquet Courts’ frontman Andrew Savage has always had a knack for writing moving, countrified porch songs that remain the most sincere he’s ever been on record. On ‘Thawing Dawn’, the title track to his debut solo collection, Savage sounds exhausted and resigned to his solitude within the world. The organ-led interludes that continually interrupt Savage’s initial balladeering eventually build into a frenetic, piano-pounding ending; and the song’s closing denouement, where he speaks of “the hardness of regret” backed only by an organ, is both poignant and satisfyingly finite in its sentiment and execution. – Dom

‘Baby Luv’

Nilüfer Yanya

On ‘Baby Luv’, Londoner Nilüfer Yanya pulls off the near impossible: merging deep soulful vocals, acoustic guitar, pop song structures and a jazzy rhythm to create a tune that juxtaposes happy-sounding instrumentation with dark lyricism. The twenty-two year-old recently signed to ATO Records and is about to embark on her first overseas tour. – Missy

‘Sideways’

Genesis Owusu

Canberra rapper Genesis Owusu has been bubbling away for a minute now, further refining his craft with every new release. On ‘Sideways’, he matches an Afro-futuristic lilt and Fela Kuti-esque rhythms with a chorus sung in his native Twi language (Owusu was born in Ghana and migrated to Canberra with his family when he was two). There’s a joyous confidence to ‘Sideways’ that feels matched by Owusu’s beautifully-harmonising voice and deep attachment to the Afro-beat grooves. It’s exciting to hear a young Australian artist with enough courage to attempt something like this and genuinely pull it off. – Dom

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