LNWY Recommends: October’s Best New Music

Laneway Festival’s Dom O’Connor picks out the best tracks of the month including a smooth collab  from Anderson .Paak’s backing band and the return of Chicago MC Mick Jenkins.

‘Groove’

100

Sydney post-punks 100 have hit pay-dirt on their second single ‘Groove’, all restrained tension and a shredding payoff. There’s a kraut-rocky energy to the track as it remains fixed on a central rhythmic figure; one that’s shared in the grit and grime of the squealing guitars. It’s a perfect match of ingrained power-pop melodicism with rough-shod production and a likeable toughness.

‘Understood’

Mick Jenkins

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Chicago MC Mick Jenkins, and ‘Understood’ has the warm, comforting embrace of a return to it. Guest producer Kaytranada provides Jenkins with a laidback, double-bass heavy beat for him to spit over, and Jenkins uses it to drop both an insouciantly cool verse and a deep-voiced counterpoint of a chorus. A showcase of one of modern music’s most talented producers with a technically gifted, non-showy MC. Made for repeating during the dog days of summer.

‘Heart’

Denise Le Menice

‘Heart’ has the swoon and sweep of a ’90s teen movie classic and the sparkling, watery guitars to match. Ali Flintoff (also of Perth punx Boat Show) dials down her usual vocal fury for a lovelorn sig; the loose, shoegazey sway of the instruments matching her nicely as the song reaches its fizzy crescendo. It’s a startlingly confident first single from the recent Barely Dressed signing, and a song that fans of Hatchie/Alvvays will find a lot to love in.

‘Pissing Blood’

Shogun and the Sheets

Former Royal Headache singer Shogun finally returns with ‘Pissing Blood’, a dramatic, organ-affected number with Tim ‘Shogun’ Wall in his finest crooner mode. It’s slower, and less immediate than any Royal Headache track, but his pained, emotional delivery is truly one of a kind. “No one could hurt you like I could,” he warbles near the track’s crescendo, the offspring of Bobby Womack and Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Brendan Huntley. If only Shogun himself liked the song as much. He recently called it “ordinary” in an interview with Noisey.

‘Beauty and Essex’ (ft Daniel Caesar & Unknown Mortal Orchestra)

Free Nationals

Who could’ve guessed a collaboration between Anderson .Paak’s band, Daniel Caesar and Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruben Nielson would be unfeasibly smooth? ‘Beauty and Essex’ isn’t particularly left-field, but it’s a perfectly succinct slice of future-funk. Caesar’s perfect falsetto and Nielson’s warped higher register contrast wonderfully over a G-funk bass line. It’s the type of music made for late-night listening, and an enticing first taste of their upcoming debut record.

‘Saint Nobody’

Jessie Reyez

“I think about dying everyday” is one of the strongest first lines of the year, a jolt to the system that feels singularly unique in modern pop music. ‘Saint Nobody’ only grows from there, building on its bed of celestial synth pads and layering Reyez’s powerful voice over itself several times. It’s the most confident Reyez has sounded on record yet, and it’s immensely satisfying when the song’s drums kick in during the second chorus. The most memorable song she’s done.

‘Amethyst’

Harvey Sutherland

Melbourne jazz/disco supremo Harvey Sutherland continues to grow on ‘Amethyst’, his first single in almost a year. As tenor saxophones rise under a frantic, ride-heavy dream beat, Sutherland showcases the producer chops he’s been honing for the last few years, never overloading the arrangement but keeping it busy enough. The tension continues to rise as the groove locks in during the track’s second half, where swelling strings and a busy bass line become the track’s focal point and let the groove ride out into aural nirvana.

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