LNWY Recommends: January’s Best New Music

Laneway Festival’s Dom O’Connor picks out the best tracks of the month including a pleasingly mellowed Deerhunter, a London singer on the rise, and some fresh voices on the Australian music landscape.

'Plains'

Deerhunter

Deerhunter was one of indie rock’s most volatile bands, happy to shroud their pop melodies in layers of hiss and fog. But ‘Plains’ is another example of Bradford Cox and Deerhunter’s ageing into contentment – and they’re sounding damn good doing it, too. The track is a beautifully simple, Afro-pop accented moment of clarity where Cox’s voice sounds both calm and considered as pristine synths wash over him in the chorus. Coming from a man (and band) that used to vomit blood on stage, it’s astonishing how comfortable these mid-tempo sounds come off.

'Fall'

Dulcie

As assured and confident as a first single gets, ‘Fall’ posits Perth band Dulcie as an exciting new voice in Australian music. A tumbling, jazz-inflected tune with a vocal reminiscent of Odette and the associated vocal gymnastics, the crashing cymbals and major-sevenths of the song’s chorus bring a dose of grunt to proceedings. It’s a song that exists as a comforting synthesis of its influences, never attempting to outrun them but instead paying tribute in a pleasantly familiar way.

'Cut The Branch'

Ruben Neeson

A bouncy headache of a first single, ‘Cut The Branch’ has Sydney musician Ruben Neeson living in a world of pained metaphors and organ swirls. He’s ably assisted by Julia Jacklin in the chorus, their voices intertwining in a quietly stunning way. It all coalesces into a deliciously twangy crescendo, where “I could be the beauty in your eyes” becomes a harmony-laden clarion call amid the sturm und drang of the band underneath. It’s an astute slice of alt-country that saunters along until it lands its final blow.

'In Your Head'

Nilüfer Yanya

‘In Your Head’ is a propulsive, fast-moving fuzz ball with London-based artist Nilüfer Yanya alternatively howling and singing along with herself in the song’s differing sections. Guitars rumble underneath her and hi-hats continue to crash as the song’s momentum rises and falls, keeping a laser-guided focus on her as the song’s continuous focal point. It’s a maturation that’s been coming for a little while now. Yanya has been releasing music since 2016, but it’s taken until ‘In Your Head’ for it all to sound as impressive as this.

'Stay The Night'

Matrick Jones

A slinky, insouciantly cool slow-jam, ‘Stay The Night’ is underpinned by a watery, Connan Mockasin-esque guitar. It builds slowly and subtly, letting its main hook burrow into your head without over-doing the instrumentation. It may take a minute, but ‘Stay The Night’ has a replay value that rewards repeat listens, a taste of the Sydney musician’s forthcoming debut album.

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