New Music on 2SER 18/05/20

Image by: Alysse Gafkjen

Welcome to the new music review where we connect you with some of the best new music spinning on Breakfast, The Daily and Drive programs.


Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Temple (FEATURE ALBUM)

Andrew Tuttle – Alexandra
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Reunions
Jess Williamson – Sorceress
Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately


Becca Mancari – First Time
Blood Circle – Shut Down
Jenny O. – I Don’t Want to Live Alone Anymore
Kikagaku Moyo – Ouchi Time
Thanya Iyer – Always, Be Together
The Wednesday Night – The Perfect Scene

Jason Isbell has always been an introspective singer, but from the opening lines of his latest record Reunions, we see for the first time the singer-songwriter attempt a form of self-criticism: “What’ve I done to help somebody save me … What’ve I done to help but not myself?” The narrator of the song, of course, is fictional, but considering the interviews the former Driver-By Truckers guitarist gave in the lead-up to the album’s release (Isbell has been open how the making of this stretched his wedding and alcoholism), we can’t help but project some of the feelings onto the singer himself. Reunions is full lost and desperate characters pushed to their limits – struggling with drugs, sex, or money – who convey a sort of archetypal quality about contemporary American life. The characters would threaten to fold into cliche in the hands of a weaker writer, but Isbell has an eye for detail typically reserved for rappers, and it’s in the revealing glances towards little objects where his songwriting really shines: the brand new sneakers the narrator shows off in “Dreamsicle”; the Hydrocodone hidden in a friend’s backpack in “Only Children”. Behind Isbell, his backing band The 400 Unit sound better than ever: after the heavier affair of 2017’s The Nashville Sound, the group show a greater confidence in allowing Isbell’s voice to reign over largely acoustic instruments. It’s in this quieter mode that Isbell offers us his most confessional record yet.

The Queensland folk-ambient composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Tuttle returns with his fifth album Alexandra, released on Lawrence English’s Room40 label. In the spirit of John Fahey and William Tyler, Alexandra sees Tuttle more fully embracing his instrumental country/folk side by filling his album with baroque instrumentation, complete with banjos, piano, and saxophone. What makes Tuttle stand out from his contemporaries is his willingness to experiment: oddball guitar tunings, inspired by groups like Matmos, give the record an off-kilter feel; disparate electronics slip and slide between his acoustic instruments, filling the edges of his sound; and dissonant ambient passages stretch out his works in a manner similar to Australian contemporaries The Necks. The result is an exhilarating and eclectic record that sounds like little else out now, and confirms Tuttle’s position as an essential Australian composer.

Monday 18th of May, 2020

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