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New Music Friday Chapter 16

Jun 12, 2020

By Bella Carles

Sonic mastermind, GUM aka Jay Watson (Tame Impala, Pond) announces the release of his fifth studio album Out In The World – available today June 12 via Spinning Top Records.

Photo By Sam Kristofski

Watson notes of the release: “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it. ‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

With a melancholic hue, but an ultimately optimistic outlook, “Don’t Let It Go Out” opens with a glistening arpeggio riff that showcases his eclectic tastes. “I find it hard to describe stylistically,” says Watson of the track. “My music for years was an obvious sum of its influences but it’s getting harder and harder to pick,” he adds. “‘Don’t Let It Go Out’ is about our modern desire to capture or record and keep every moment. The ease, not only to do all this, but then to lose it forever down the track inspires and disturbs me.”

An eternal student of sound and song, Out In The World is GUM’s fifth solo album in almost as many years. The LP was written and recorded at home in Fremantle, in addition to stealing studio time between his commitments with POND and Tame Impala. Watson’s ever omnivorous taste for styles, sounds and eras coupled with his ongoing quest to make sense of this madness we call life, has gifted his most potent, vibrant GUM album to date.

Equally driven by untethered curiosity and the anxiety of too much awareness, Watson inhales genres like short-haul flights, boarding to places he’s never been and disembarking like he never left. His eclectic taste and kitchen sink genre-benders renders Out In The World pointless to try and classify, existing in the grey zone between two, four, or more in the Venn diagram.

Approaching recording as a casual yet consistent practice, Watson returns with new GUM material like clockwork, and Out In The World was already percolating at the time of his last release, 2018’s The Underdog. Watson nods to an era before his time with wide-eyed wonder, doing justice to the originals while upgrading the gene pool to a hardier, more robust profile for 2020, as evident in the darkly toned title track and first single “

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Joy Downer’s highly anticipated debut album Paper Moon is out now. Self-described as Alternative Dream Pop, Paper Moon highlights a seamless blend of Joy’s addictive vocal melodies, synths, drum machines, and guitars in a stunning collection of 9 songs written, recorded, and produced by Joy and Jeffrey Downer in their Los Angeles home.

Stream and download Paper Moon here

Photo By John Knipp

one of 10 kids and raised in the Mormon Church, Joy’s childhood was filled with music – her parents, both musicians and music lovers, helped to shape a wide range of influences from disco and punk to Broadway musicals. Throughout high school, Joy would use songwriting as a device to retain information from classes and to cope with what she would later learn to be depression. After graduating, she transitioned out of the church and pursued a professional modeling career that took her around the globe, living in Australia, London, and New York. She eventually moved to Los Angeles following a chance recording session at her brother’s studio that led her to meet her husband and musical collaborator, Jeffrey Downer.

Paper Moon follows Joy’s 2017 debut EP Radio Dreamer and was self-produced and recorded at home. Her music was recently featured as the theme song for the Netflix original series Spinning Out and she was recruited by renowned UK production duo Superhuman for a cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in this Honda TV Ad. With only an EP and a few singles out in the world, Joy has already found fans at Refinery29BBC RadioBlackbookGrimy GoodsEarmilkApple MusicSpotify and more.

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Danish trio Scarlet Pleasure have been on a meteoric rise since 2014 with their unique brand of sunny, alternative pop. On a planet far, far away where the grass is always green and only the blue sky is the limit, the band hope to bring some optimism and good cheer back to 2020 with the release for “SOS,” their latest top charting single from forthcoming LP, Garden

Filmed by Dolcerocca with creative direction from Stine Thorbøll, the video for “SOS” provides the perfect backdrop for the song’s sped-up, slow reggae sound, reminiscent of Sting and The Police. 

Creative Director Stine Thorbøll (Copenhagen Records) said of the video concept, “The ‘Scarlet Pleasure Garden’ is located on its own planet; the rules of Earth don’t apply. The grass is always green, the sun is always shining. The robot vacuum cleaner is your only friend and the routers need water in order to grow. The garden consists of strictly kept boxwood and wavy golf courses alá Teletubbies. A very obvious human attempt to control nature. We really liked the idea of having high energy band performances in that setting.

Additionally, the main inspiration of the video is “high production music videos from the late 90s and the early 00s,” shares Thornbull. “Both on the overall look of the video and the comical twists. We wanted the band to have a lot of different props to interact with to make the video playful and weird.”   

With a subtle touch of the Charles Aznavour classic, ‘La Boheme,’ mixed with Scarlet Pleasure’s irresistible youthfulness, “SOS” pairs perfectly with a fruity Summer-cocktail. Within three weeks of its release, the song hit the top five on the Danish Airplay Chart

Comprised of Emil Goll (Vox/guitar), Alexander Malone (Bass) and Joachim Dencker (Drums) Scarlet Pleasure has created a unique position for themselves by combining a distinct visual profile with their ability to constantly invent new tendencies. Since their 2014 debut single, “Windy,” the band has released a constant string of hit singles, gained more than 200 million streams on Spotify, influenced several fashion trends among the Danish youth and headlined the legendary Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival. 

The first chapter of Garden – named in part for Scarlet Pleasure’s dedication to living green and protecting the planet from climate change – officially drops on June 19.  Their “Garden” will continue to be nurtured and grow, as they’ll add new songs throughout the fall. 

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With their much-anticipated debut album Good Songs For Bad People out today via Bella Union, Drab City have also shared a video for current single “Live Free and Die When It’s Cool”. Of the track the band say: “Live Free and Die When It’s Cool tells the story of a young, penniless drifter who arrives in the big city searching for understanding and like-minded weirdos, only to find the wide open city has been replaced by a hyper-gentrified city of dull careerists.” The tale is told over an uncanny mix of echoey dub, 70s rock, and funky drum breaks – a sonic blend as free-spirited and cool as the song’s title suggests. The video was filmed around 5 am and featuring the band dancing around on abandoned beaches.

Stream/download Good Songs For Bad People here

A heady air of dislocation envelops Drab City’s debut album, where songs of innocence and experience merge with dub, hip-hop, dream-pop and jazzy soundtrack vibes to intoxicating effect. Drab City are fixated on social alienation, violent revenge, and (perhaps) romantic love as salvation; topics not new in music, but listening to Drab City in 2020, one is struck by how uncommon they’ve become. Lyrically, these songs often project punkish angst and resentment.

“Working For the Men” is a degraded service worker’s revenge ballad, imagining male tormenters brought to a violent end. “Hand On My Pocket” tells of a destitute, wandering youth. One night she meets a stranger on a desert road, and is told of a nearby city where a soft, rich citizenry make easy targets. Class war is palpable. Other songs are more opaque, but seem to speak of being the black sheep of the family, or being weighed down by the dullness of hometown life. Yet, the casual listener might not notice the violence as the music itself is far from abrasive.

Dreamy and ethereal, a foundation of flute, vibraphone, and jazzy guitar chord melody can switch to drum machines or funk-inflected girl-group pop at a moment’s notice. It’s a flurry of 20th century references, combining and recombining at such a schizophrenic pace, the overall effect is something that could only be conjured in our frenzied present. At once catchy and unfamiliar, the melodic, welcoming soundscapes are a Trojan horse for the band’s antisocial outlook.

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