LNWY Recommends: December’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.

'Cold As Ice'

Bekon

Without any context, pressing play on ‘Cold As Ice’ gives you the feeling that Bekon could be the Sgt. Pepper’s-loving long lost cousin of Tame Impala or The Babe Rainbow. What you wouldn’t expect, though, is that it’s the artistic debut of Dan Tannenbaum, who has eight production credits to his name on Kendrick Lamar’s critically-acclaimed DAMN. Here, the producer does a complete 180, trading in his jazzy, hip-hop production for dreamy, psych-pop. – Missy

'Beach Life-In-Death'

Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo’s songs often feel like he’s granting us an elongated look into his psyche, and all of the existential fears and tics that seem to drive it. The sprawling, three-part-epic ‘Beach Life In-Death’ finds Toledo fretting about the smaller details of his first queer relationship – “I never came out to my friends,” he sighs with a panic in his voice. Unlike the song’s first take (from 2011’s Twin Fantasy), Will now has a kick-ass band to back him up, attacking the material with a newfound ferocity his music always deserved. As the song continues to stretch towards its near 13-minute denouement, it’s hard not to be swept up in Toledo’s manic orbit and knack for expressing his own internal monologue. – Dom

'Blissing Me' (serpantwithfeet remix)

Björk

The year’s most intergalactic artists unite for their final releases of the year, as they transform ‘Blissing Me’ into a gorgeous vocal acrobatic duet. While Björk’s original – off 2017’s Utopia – was already delicate and angelic, the additional back-and- forth between her and serpantwithfeet (aka singer Josiah Wise) gives this modern love song a whole new dimension. – Missy

'Laughing At The System Pt 1'

Total Control

Surprise! Total Control are back, and the robotic, mostly-chanted ‘Laughing At The System’ is the most paranoid-sounding music they’ve ever made. Skittering drums and DX’s mantra-like incantations wash over layers of heartless, icy synths with a mechanical precision. The entire thing feels very much like both a response and digression from previous album Typical System’s more crowd-pleasing moments, the repetitive harshness reminding the listener of Total Control side-projects Nicky Crane and Mikey Young’s solo work on first listen. While ‘Laughing At The System’ is by no means a conventional anthem, the defiant spirit and propulsive ticking of the band propels the band towards a cold, unblinking future. – Dom

'Hideaway'

Geowulf

Originally from a small town outside Brisbane, dream-pop duo Geowulf is currently based in London – but it seems they still have their heads (and hearts) in the Australian seasons. ‘Hideaway’ is a beachy, sun-kissed tune full of reverb-drenched guitars and a shimmery vocal hooks. Is there anything more you can ask for in your Song Of The Summer? – Missy

'Buddy Buddy'

Manu Crook$

Manu Crook$’s 2017 was as versatile, dexterous and impressive as the young rapper’s own voice. In between receiving props from A$AP Ferg, Crook$ continued to refine his raw talent into a direct, confident flow on a variety of releases throughout the year. On ‘Buddy Buddy’, his control and wordplay over bouncing trap-hats is the most self-assured he’s sounded yet, with the Sydney MC contorting his voice between two distinct sections. The smooth manipulation of his tone is the clearest indication yet that he’s one of Sydney’s most promising and talented rappers. – Dom

'Ashes'

Grace Carter

Between Sigrid, Billie Eilish, Khalid, and Dua Lipa, 2017 has absolutely been the year of the teenage pop newcomer making big waves. Now we’ve got UK soul-pop hybrid Grace Carter to add to the mix. Produced by powerhouse Mike Dean (Beyoncé, Kanye West, Frank Ocean), ‘Ashes’ is a radio-ready ballad that demonstrates the 19-year-old’s massive world-beating potential. – Missy

'Special'

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen’s recent B-side compilation Phases indicates one thing: that she’s sitting on a demo collection most artists would kill for. ‘Special’ crackles with a nervous energy, her breathy vocals adding a counterpoint to her own twangy guitar playing. The nervous energy begins to dissipate when extra elements are added, however Olsen’s sense of restraint is explored further as the track subverts traditional loud/quiet dynamics during the long, jammy coda. ‘Special’ feels unrestrained in the most casual way, fulfilling Olsen’s destiny as one of modern guitar music’s most singular, bad-ass entities. – Dom

'Amnesia'

slenderbodies

Los Angeles’ slenderbodies has become one of the most reliable new acts of recent times. Earlier this year, the falsetto-obsessed duo released their fabulist EP, full of Glass Animals-meets- alt-J experimental pop goodness. They’ve followed it up with two colourful singles, ‘Lucid and ‘Amnesia’, which prove that slenderbodies won’t be underrated for much longer.

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