Looking back, everything Hedy Blaazer has released feels like a build up to ‘A Happy Song’. You can trace its overarching string arrangements back to the respect she showed each individual part of her musical constructions as h. on the 26 Letters EP, and the meandering, never quite content to be still rhythm of the song speaks to her deep-seated intention to take control over every aspect of the music she creates.
“Can you feel nostalgia for a life you’ve never lived?” she asks on ‘A Happy Song’, augmenting the feeling of unease that she’s harnessed so masterfully in the arrangement. Fair warning, this isn’t actually a happy song.
At last, a song that’s been kicking around Zain’s live set for four or five years has found its way to tape. For the dedicated Azim Zain fanbase, the wait was worth it. Ever the purveyor of cathartic singalongs, ‘Holiday Home’ proves to be perhaps Zain’s loudest yet.
It’s also one of his most concise offerings to date, clocking in at just under three-and-a-half minutes. But rather than taking away from his songwriting ambition, the emo power-pop format only serves to amplify Azim Zain’s voice. ‘Holiday Home’ feels even more potent given that Zain is currently living in Malaysia instead of his adopted home of Canberra.
Selecting one track that best represents Lost Coast’s expansive self-titled album is no small feat. That said, the slowly evolving musical landscapes of ‘L’hermite’ feel like they exist in a self-contained microcosm of their own.
The song starts with a tranquil soundscape, where instruments blend together to the point that you can’t really tell how each sound is being made. A lone military snare drum beat moves the song into more tense territory before the five-piece gradually build towards an enormous, drama-filled climax. It’s another post-rock masterclass from one of Canberra’s most enduring bands.
‘Holding Out’ is a slow-burning exploration of abandonment and distance set to a carefully constructed palette of One Life Stand era Hot Chip sounds. It’s also Endrey’s best work yet. Endrey cleverly uses texture and sound as raw materials, making ‘Holding Out’ feel direct and full of momentum despite it being his most down-tempo offering in recent times.
Towards the end, the atmosphere around Endrey’s nearly spoken vocal shifts dramatically as he’s joined by a choir of voices from all directions, filling his otherwise stark outlook with movement and colour. Musically, Endrey has set the world around him in motion, and it’ll continue to move and spin and call him back no matter what.
Weirdo Gvng ain’t with the fake s**t, and their first release of the year says as much. Early singles ‘Lowkey’ and ‘New Mona Lisa’ felt like they were setting the table for what Weirdo Gvng are capable of, and this latest release sees them starting to capitalise on that enormous potential.
It’s playful, with interjections feeling like they’re coming from the back of the room, and musically it’s more experimental and fun than anything the Canberra three-piece have done before.
‘The Witness’ comes with a strong content warning for sexual assault and child abuse. In the song, Dorothy-Jane holds nothing back, expressing the deep and fundamental betrayal of a loved one. It’s the title track from Dorothy-Jane’s new album, a collection of beautifully and starkly recorded folk and blues songs in which the artist often chooses to place her subject front and centre, unrestrained by metaphor or allusion.
While this song is not for the faint-hearted, it is a vital listen for those who might not have grappled with the disaster and destruction of abuse.