Photo by Lincoln Jubb

MC’s Guide to Music You Should Be Listening To


Everyone likes a good music recommendation…

From a trusted source (at least, that’s why we hope you’re here). We did a quick whip around MC HQ to find out what’s getting everyone hot and steamy under the collar at the moment, and the results were as eclectic as they are playlist-worthy. And before you begin slagging us off for forgetting your favourite musicians/bands below, remember the world’s a big place, and these following acts are but a few blades of grass from one large musical field. Enjoy.

Shame

This London five-piece band are gritty, tongue-in-cheek, and blew our minds when they were in the country recently for Laneway Festival. Influenced by Eddy Current Suppression Ring and recently described as, “2018’s angriest, shoutiest young British guitar band” this post-punk ensemble is ferocious, provoking, raw, and exactly the kind of band we need more of. All hail Shame.

BCUC

Citing James Brown and Fela Kuti as influences, this seven-piece band from Soweto, South Africa, draw on Indigenous and modern influences to create a fusion of “ritual songs, around the fire hood songs; shebeen songs, church songs… raps and a rock and roll attitude.” Forming 12 years ago, BCUC (which stands for Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness) rehearse in a shipping container/community restaurant just steps from where Desmond Tutu organised the escape of the most wanted anti-Apartheid activists of Soweto; fitting, given that BCUC’s not afraid to use their afropsychedelic tunes to comment on the politics of past and present. The band’s funky modulations, bizarre mashups, and electrifying live performances are a hell of a thing to watch (even if they’re playing in an office space small enough to cause viewing claustrophobia, as above), so check them out to see what BCUC mean when they say they’re, “…really going to blow a lot of skulls this year.”

A.A.L

You might not well be acquainted with the artist name A.A.L, but you’ll be well acquainted with the man behind the moniker, Nicolas Jaar. With this new, quietly released album, Jaar strays away from the warped, politically charged sounds of previous release Sirens, and returns to the kinds of soulful club beats we haven’t heard from him in a few years. Whereas Sirens presented as a singular body of work, with recordings of a conversation in Jaar’s native tongue, Spanish, flowing throughout tracks, 2012-2017 is packed with stand-alone bangers that carry you from beginning to end. Never one to rush, it’s got Jaar’s characteristic patience throughout, with a buoyancy that’s reminiscent of his “Mi Mujer,” days. The funk sampling is on point, the vocals are even better, and you should go and hit play now.

Topaz Jones

Topaz Jones first came to our attention at Splendour in the Grass 2017. Not (yet) widely known in the Southern Hemisphere, the rapper originally from New Jersey was given early time slots on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival and did a hell of a lot more with the smaller stage and crowd than some of the more well-known acts with primo spots later in the day. But don’t take our word for it—we encourage you to embark on a journey through the young musician’s back catalogue, and two recent releases, “Zoom” and “Toothache” (the former being the most addictive groove you’ll hear this week, guaranteed). Jones’ distinctive style has all the hallmarks of growing up with a funk musician father, and his dexterity in flowing between smooth vocals and sharp-witted lyricism is something else. We hope this guy’s gonna be big.

Baxter Dury

“I don’t think you realise how successful I am”, begins Baxter Dury in “Miami”, and you’re hooked. Son of British music icon Ian Dury, he was always going to be a talented songwriter by osmosis, but his own eclectic style is noticeably different than his post-punk father. Deadpan deliveries such as “I’m the sausage man”, make it hard not to love Baxter’s candid and sharp style.

(Sandy) Alex G

What kinda 24-year-old can writes lyrics as light-hearted and fun as, “Sittin’ at the swim club stretchin’ my quads, everyone wants to be a part of my squad”, and brutally honest as, “She doesn’t wanna see me tonight, not for a minute, not for a second, she says ‘nothing here for you to make right’”? (Sandy) Alex G, that’s who. While those in certain circles are probably crying out that he’s far from an undiscovered act, we believe the multi-instrumentalist from Philadelphia is someone everyone should know. Discovered largely via his releases on Bandcamp, and now signed to Domino, Alex G began his career making music in his bedroom, and he’s still there (only ’cause he’s uncomfortable relinquishing control of the songwriting process in a typical studio setting). Give him a listen, you won’t regret it.


NASHO

NASHO are a hardcore punk band from Sydney’s west intent on bringing diversity and political commentary to their brand of music. Complex in their simplicity of putting a stamp on the power of music, their songs explore the treatment of our Indigenous people and how we all co-exist in today’s Australia, punctuated by a no fucks given delivery of wailing vocals, surging guitar riffs and churning drums. You can listen to them now on Bandcamp.

The Blaze

If you don’t yet know of the French duo creating hypnotic electronic tracks alongside stupidly cinematic music videos—though referring to them as short films is probably more correct—we’re pleased to make the introductions. Cousins/self-confessed perfectionists Jonathan and Guillaume Alric made 100 songs for their EP Territory and chose just five. Those five songs were a haunting collection of house tracks that flickered between mournful and hopeful, melancholic and uplifting, all at the same time. The Blaze made inroads into many people’s consciousness towards the end of last year with their flawless visuals in “Territory” (which we included in our ‘Best Short Films of 2017’ list) an ode to a young man’s homecoming, filmed in Algiers. Capturing the sensitivity within masculinity has been a recurring theme for the pair (their video for 2016 song “Virile” was a beautifully ambiguous take on the relationship between two male friends), an approach that continues with recently dropped, soaring track “Heaven”.

Noire

Noire’s patient guitar licks sound like you’ve just turned up in a 1950s western town that’s piecing itself back together after a shootout. The Sydney band’s ethereal vocals via lead singer Jessica Mincher, and effortless production and song arrangement make you want to just close your eyes, block out the world, and drift away for a few minutes.

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