The essential titles of the last month
Breathe new life into your playlists.
When I was researching for this month’s column, I came across a collaboration so damned my eyes can’t see it. So, because I had to testify, my introduction this month is this cursed collaboration and this cursed collaboration only.
What is Macklemore trying to monopolize pain and suffering? Every time I hear a bit of him, it’s like he’s trying to convince me that he’s the only one who’s ever felt sad, ever.
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Let’s also remember that he was the man who won a Grammy against Kendrick Lamar, when his album featured the line “When I was in ninth grade, I thought I was gay.” He then followed him with facilitating a group wedding between hundreds of queer people on stage. When I think about the greatest embarrassments of my generation, this is the highest level. Anyway, on this month.
I investigated a lot more first-wave Australian jazz for an upcoming project, and in the process landed on Bellydance – a nine-piece dance/funk band that formed in Sydney in 1987 .
The song that piqued my curiosity was “3 days man!‘, a collection of three tracks that really straddle the line between something you’d hear comfortably in a pub and on a dance floor. I can’t really find traces of much more, although I’ve read several songs and albums and would happily get a vinyl/tape from someone if they have one in their collection.
I love the idea that they were just a bunch of nine guys (sometimes twelve) making music and seeing what stuck. I think so often of bands like Savage Garden, Silverchair and Midnight Oil who were soundtracking the Australian airwaves just before I landed on this earth, and although they are unquestionable icons, it’s nice to know that there were also things like that.
Anything by Sampa The Great
My obsession with Sampa The Great has percolated into the background since the release of The return in 2019. Lately, however, the Sampa hole has become more intense, and I find myself so deep in her discography that I wonder if she even remembers some of these characteristics.
I know many will read this like, duh, she’s awesome, but it’s actually huge for anyone to be taken advantage of by some of these artists, let alone an Aussie. People all over the world have taken notice of her talent, so much so that I don’t think Australia deserves her.
A few niche veterans
‘Flowers’ with Remi
‘La Prize’ with Estelle
‘Doo Wop’ live at Wireless
And some recent highlights
‘Ezinna’ with B Wise and Milan Ring
“Free and Equal” with Angélique Kidjo
‘Black Balloons’ with Denzel Curry for Like a version
DJ Rah on Rinse FM
I recently caught Singapore-born, Melbourne-based DJ Rah’s set on a chance night in Bali. I was immediately shaken. It was a meeting of spirits on the dance floor, though she didn’t acknowledge my presence or know I felt that way. I then proposed her for a piece at FJ (which has just been published) and spent the rest of my vacation consuming myriad of his sets.
One of my favorites is his guest mix on FM flush. It delivers radio nostalgia (think random talkback interjections) with contemporary selections. Drum and bass, afrobeat, dancehall, UK garage – they really take you on a journey with this one. Once you’ve played that one to death, she Radio Raheem mix is another good – albeit different – one.
Stella Donnelly– Flood
Stella Donnelly is one of Australia’s most vulnerable and prolific artists. His second album Floodas Laura Snapes in Fork says it perfectly, “focuses on her guiding concern as a musician: how we seek and create safety”.
His first album, Beware of dogs, has made her a household name among those who enjoy some sad songs, a glass of red wine, and potentially a bit of disastrous scrolling through Hinge on Apple TV. And while it may seem like I’m downplaying his talents, I really try to do the opposite. She is the voice of a generation.
On Flood, Donnelly truly finds the piano at home, an instrument she supposedly hasn’t touched in years. Written in the depths of Melbourne’s dark winter lockdown (IYKYK), the songs sound like a melancholy adventure with ups and downs. ‘How was your day?’ seems to be the standout track so far.
Other notable mentions
‘Picture In My Mind’ – Pink Panther ft. gellaitry
‘Change’ – Super Shy
‘Miss The Days’ – SBTRKT
‘Cody Freestyle’ – Steve Lacey
‘Intimate Fantasy’ – Chaos in the CBD
“Look at Him” - Greentea Peng
“Fell in Love” – Jesswar
‘Is this how it feels to feel like this?’ – The Wombats
‘Teddy’ – Teen Dads
‘King Billy Cokebottle’ – AB Original
‘Blue Ocean’ – Kita Alexander
‘Cranky Boy’ – Northeast Party House
‘GTFO’ – Owusu Genesis
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