Someone forgot to tell Australia that indie rock is supposed to be artistically spent by now, because in Melbourne they’re partying like it’s 1995. The city seems flush with musicians who introduce a fresh perspective (ideally while very high) to this by-now classic style. Melbourne is also witnessing a new cohort of charismatic frontwomen; as today’s picks suggest, Courtney Barnett was just the tip of the local iceberg.
On her debut album, Gabriella Cohen presents tuneful garage pop, half danceable, the other half for lighting a candle under your Harry Nillson shrine with. Her husky, nasally voice may be a love-or-hate proposition, but count me in; I hear Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrema minus the two-pack-a-day habit. Cohen has a number of videos out to coincide with her album Full Closure and No Details, of which “Sever the Walls” is a stand-out.
If by this point you’re really baked, then “Stay Awake” by Jade Imagine is required listening. Frontwoman Jade McNally cranks up the reverb on a narcotized merry-go-round of a melody driven by guitar and organ. Look for her debut EP (on Courtney Barnett’s Milk! Records) this March.
This music makes me want to go back to college, enroll in a semester abroad in Australia, then take a leave of absence once I arrive and drive the van for one of these musicians. Slack Melbourne trucker!
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.