Telete  – ‘Basketball Boy’
Perth chamber-pop/synth-gaze-inspired duo Telete share their second single ‘Basketball Boy’. Their music is described as “like being slowly mown down in a field of violets” and this track is no exception. The lead vocal gently sang like a lullaby with a vocoder supporting from underneath makes for a pretty romantic sound. Paired with lush disharmonic synths, saw-esque bass and sparse percussion this track allows the less is more sentiment to prove its impact. The approach of the underlying message is non-threatening, but strong and important -a lament that responds to sexist micro-aggressions, specifically gaslighting and the enormous emotional burdens women and gender non-conforming people are expected to do, even to simply justify their own feelings – and reclaim the right to not have to do that anymore. The duo are set to tour in early Feb 2018, keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Hatchie – ‘Sure’
The dreamy second offering from Hatchie features low-fi sounds, showgazey pop with its trademarks of verby guitar yolked with the almost unfamiliar sound of a live drum kit. Though written in a major key the track is paired with lonely vocals begging questions ‘Why did you do it?’ and even more quietly ‘Do you even think about me?’ The way these little one-liners are mixed into the sonic field is thoughtful -putting you into Hatchie’s own headspace and mirroring the way thoughts may circle in your head during the earlier stages of post-heartbreak. The track is an ode to 90’s pop –  a mournful requiem dream.

Benson ft. Rromarin – ‘Resolution’
Melbourne’s prevalent Benson has teamed with the elusive and malleable top-liner Rromarin to produce this feel-good summer dance track. Pulling you forward by the ear from the get-go, it sets itself apart from your usual (read: repetitive) deep house tracks through sneaky syncopated hat hits and little features of synth arpeggios, accents from the deeper tubular bass and distorted vocal chops. In the world of EDM, subtlety and attention to detail is everything, and on the journey to each chorus, the lift is achieved by thin and gentle rises, as opposed to the abrasive white noise wash you might be accustomed to. The hook has synergy in the forward punching kicks, claps and verby vocals that occasionally sync up to them in the legato phrases, so gently side-chained you might think you’re imagining it. Bright vocals wash over and under the track like that of hot steam, the final product – a scorcher.

Nothing Like You –  ‘Clouds’
The quartet Nothing Like You definitely sounds nothing like what is flying around the airwaves at the moment. Likened to a mix of Birds of Tokyo, Incubus and Linkin Park, the gruff bunch seek to bring back chunky riffs, melodic vocals, and nostalgic sounds to draw you back to a time almost forgotten – when rock was king of the airwaves and music was unapologetic. Straight up the track puts you in the mind frame for some feelings. The track follows the story of song about love, loss and the pain associated with trying to understand why we love.

Twofold Vision – ‘Purgatory’
This one’s a pretty good weekend jam considering the impending New Year and dreamy holiday plans are upon us. It’s pretty rare that you find a singing/producing dynamic that sounds like they’re somehow the same person, but Electro-pop duo Twofold Vision manage to nail it. We are transported smoothly through verses and choruses with softly reversed synth attacks before the funk bass line jumps in to propel the track forward and upward. There’s lots of little surprise guitar and piano solos with dynamic shifts to keep it engaging and inspiring enough to shift between the dreams and reality.

Emah Fox – ‘You Got No Right’
Starting strong, and staying that way for the whole track long. Emah Fox’s stacked synths, kicks, with occasional departing sharp synths deliver descending solo flicks and work as one to deliver an 80’s inspired track with a super timely message – written in the context of the recent #metoo movement which includes an over-arching theme of owning self-respect. The vocal is smacked up close and personal in the mix -the delivery is almost whispered but demands attention, dark but fun, similar to that of Annie Lennox. There’s really smart use of space and syncopated silence to break up the wall of sound which allows short moments to fully grasp the weight of her message.

RENNAN ft h.eund – ‘Someone’
Though the vocal delivery from RENNAN is presented in the familiar way Australian Rap is with sharp twists of sarcasm and the occasional bold mumble, the subject matter and track underneath is less familiar and this is what makes it such an alluring listen. An unlikely marriage of low-fi, pulsing organs and frontal punchy bass works surprisingly well. Strange and verby vocal cuts from collaborator h.uend perfectly compliment the seamlessly shifting territory of the track.

If you weren’t sold via the title, the sonic package will do it. Elusive Sydney-sider JEFFE dryly tells a story of the sacrifice of setting your own feelings for the benefit of the person you love in a matter of fact manner. An incredibly layered chordal arrangement is fully immersive, and at any moment you are asking whether that sound was a string section, organ, synth or horn. Each chorus lifts to the occasion, the occasion being the sweet and endearing hook. Though the track is soft and warm, she commendably ends her offering with a blunt full stop.

Stevie – Toughen Your Skin
To give you an idea of the absolute tune that is Toughen Your Skin, my ears first thought that this was a Cyril Hahn banger. So basically, if you like him you’re definitely gonna be in to this. Brisbane trio Stevie incorperate all that is gold from the 80’s pop era: pitched 808’s, sweet soaring synths, thundering sub-bass and a pretty dry vocal treatment that lets the catchy hook do the talking. Then there’s that iconic fade out of sweet synth at the track’s end – sealing the deal on the era’s time capsule.