We really hit a treasure trove of Australian music in this block, as well as some new tracks from long established indie artists. Tracks are getting difficult to seperate and really any of these tracks could have found themselves in the top 20. So, let’s take a look at some fantastic new music:
35. Midnight Oil ft. Dan Sultan, Joel Davison, Kaleena Briggs and Bunna Lawrie: Gadigal Land
Midnight Oil broke it big in the US with Beds are Burning in 1987. However, the band continued to be punk and rock heavy hitters in Australia for decades after that track’s release. The band is best known for its political lyrics and Indigenous rights activism. Gadigal Land is the band’s first single in 17 years and quickly took Australian music by storm. It features a number of prominent Aboriginal musicians. The song refers to Australian Aboriginal rights; especially land rights. The Oil reminds Australians that they violently killed the original Aboriginal owners of the land and we must account for those sins. It is a confronting song that reminds us that issues of race are not limited to Black Lives Matter protests and are present in the very land we walk everyday.
Listen to Gadigal Land
34. Tones and I: Bad Child
Back to back Australian artists! Love it! Tones and I went from busking in Sydney to Dance Monkey, which was a global hit. Tones and I has a vocal that you either love or hate…I have not found much middle ground on that point. I love it. I especially love it when she really lets loose on the chorus. This is a track that speaks to everyone who has felt like an outsider and the black sheep of the family. Tones and I seems to be working through some family of origin issues throughout the track as she comes to grips with how others have seen her throughout her life. Much like other Tones and I tracks, this is extremely catchy and you will find yourself belting it out along with her.
Listen to Bad Child
33. Fleet Foxes: Jara
It has been a couple years since Fleet Foxes last release and they come out with something more upbeat than their previous work. Robin Pecknold features classical artist Meara O’Reilly with her modern work, which uses the human voice as a classical instrument. The track itself is a complex arrangement of modern classical pieces mixed with the warm indie style I fell in love with way back on Fleet Foxes’ earlier records. Pecknold’s vocals are impeccable and the warm wall of sound musicality envelopes you in a warm hug. The song explores mortality and how you can use your life to have a lasting positive impact on others. For Pecknold, even though life is fleeting, you can use your time to have a positive impact on the world. This is a return to form for Fleet Foxes and I hope this is a sign of more great music to come.
Listen to Jara
32. Matt Berninger: Serpentine Prison
This is Berninger’s first solo project outside of The National. He has done some side projects with other friends in the music industry, but this is all Matt. Even though this is a solo project, he explores themes that are well traveled in his work with The National. Berninger sings about parenting, regret, fear and doubt in a world where you are trying to raise a child the best you can within a tumultuous world of fear and unrest. His anxiety and doubt are easily relatable for any parent caught up in 2020. We are all hoping we are protecting our children from our own fears, while also trying to instil empathy and a sense of the world around us. Musically, this is a departure from his percussion driven National records and is more stripped back and intimate. This is a lovely, personal and fragile record.
Listen to Serpentine Prison
31. Megan Washington: Batflowers
Megan Washington has been out of the music limelight for some time. She burst on the scene in 2009 and has been putting out solid music ever since. Batflowers is a well constructed pop gem about how we all fell like we can “fuck things up,” but friends will always be there for us to pull us through. It is a catchy and uplifting song that speaks to human frailty and hope. It is great to see all of Washington’s song writing and pop skill on display. This is a fun track that is personal, relatable and easy to bob your head to. What else do you need?
Listen to Batflowers
Wow! A big block for the Aussies! A great chance for you to listen to some great Australian music. We will start dipping our toes into the 20s next block, which will give us some more wonderful Aussie music and introduce us to some up and coming musicians. Tune in!