This week in The Singles Bar #22, Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles features:

Do Something About It is the first of two stunning new songs Slum Sociable will release in the lead up to their upcoming tour. The 8-date run will be the band’s first since a national album tour late last year, which saw them sell out Melbourne’s Corner Hotel.

With no interest in repetition, Slum Sociable’s sound evolves with every release. Do Something About It is our first taste of new music since their self-titled debut LP, which was crowned locally as the feature album on triple j and FBi Radio in the week of release. The singles, Name Call, Don’t Come Back Another 100 Times and Castle have collected over 4 million streams on Spotify and appeared in massive global playlists including New Indie Mix, Underground Hits and Ultimate Indie. They’ve also received love from international radio stations BBC Radio 1, Beats 1 and KCRW, as well as garnering a mass of online attention from Billboard, NYLON, The 405, CLASH, Earmilk and Indie Shuffle.

Gang Gang Dance release J-TREE, the second single from their long-awaited album Kazuashita out Friday 22nd June via 4AD / Remote Control Records.

A stirring and euphoric paean to nature, co-founder Brian DeGraw says, “J-TREE has always been about open space to me. When I started writing the skeleton of the song I imagined it would only ever be played live in an outdoor setting. That was the goal: to create a song that was a sonic dialogue between ourselves and the majesty of wide open space in nature.”

At the core of J-TREE is Shiyé Bidziil, one of the key members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, speaking out against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through sacred Native American burial lands. “The Shiyé sample captures a point in time that is not only a historical moment in the struggle of humankind within a state of heightened political chaos but also a reminder that Nature is not passive,” DeGraw comments. “The stampede of buffalo was a reaction from the higher powers of Nature in response to the cries of a people who were fighting to maintain that spiritual alliance. Standing Rock was essentially a standoff between beings who believe that money is God versus beings who believe that Nature is God. I think the Shiyé’s moment was an example of the natural world confirming that the latter is much closer to the truth.”

The Kooks today return with two new songs No Pressure and All The Time. They also announce details of their long-awaited fifth studio album Let’s Go Sunshine, with brash, bold, songs that mix melancholy and euphoria, to be released 31st August via Lonely Cat / AWAL Recordings.

With the roar of their recent sold-out UK arena tour still echoing in their ears and more than one billion streams under their belts, The Kooks reach to claim their place in the Great British Songbook with Let’s Go Sunshine. It’s a bold longplayer that distils their timeless sound into its purest form while pushing it forward into a more expansive and mature space. It’s a moving, energising and timelessly melodic record and incisive in its portrait of modern British urban life. The heart and soul of the record lies in its hymns of lost innocence, fading relationships and the process of break-up and recovery. It’s the sound of an ambitious, confident band stepping out and making a statement with their definitive album. Let’s Go Sunshine sees the band cement their status as true bastions of British guitar pop and take their rightful place at the top table next to the celebrated bands that influenced them in their infancy, over a decade ago.

Following stand out singles Phantom and A Shot comes Read My Mind, the ethereal new track from Sarah Blasko, lifted from her ARIA #5 album, Depth Of Field.

The simple yet arresting video premiered on Culture Collide; discussing the song and video, Sarah said, “Read My Mind is about unspoken connections, the special ways we communicate with people we love. It was written about my son Jerry and the wonder experienced in getting to know him and looking after him when he was very small. It was as though he was not yet human, very primal, so switched on to me and I to him. We communicated in a very unique way. He spoke to me in a kind of half-speak that was so adorable and I felt like we understood each other perfectly. The clip was made with McLean Stephenson once again. If you watch right to the end you’ll see Jerry has a little cameo.”

Fraser A. Gorman returns in 2018 with a brand-new single Walking To Oman’s. His first new music in three years Gorman says ‘Walking To Oman’s is a song I wrote whilst on a trip to the Otway forest to visit an old friend. It’s a song about getting lost in addiction and looking for a way out. It was inspired by the great, overarching trees that towered over me as I walked through the forest. So thick they nearly black out the sky’.

The single also features guest vocals by Melbourne based Electro, Indie, Pop artist Hachiku. With his love for country, blues, and folk, Gorman started his solo career writing songs with a laid-back storytelling style. In 2015 he released his first full length album, Slow Gum which received critical acclaim across the globe including mass praise in Uncut, Mojo and Rolling Stone. Gorman toured the world three times on the back of his debut album release before settling back in Melbourne to work as a carpenter and contemplate existence.

Ocean Alley are thrilled to unveil the sun-kissed new video to accompany the raw and wistful Knees, a standout cut from their acclaimed second album Chiaroscuro – of which the second vinyl pressing is now available. The band are taking the LP on the road in North America for 29-shows through May and June, having kicked off in San Diego this week and with two dates already sold out in Canada.

Having fast become a fan-favourite on the band’s sold out Australian tour, conjuring mass crowd sing-alongs on all stops, Knees combines dreamy tones with hopeful yet commanding vocals and stunning harmonisation. The video portrays an endless summer, the lo-fi, grainy vision evoking a sense of nostalgia as Australia moves into the sombre, cooler months. Tying in with the album’s theme of dark and light, the heavy weight of the song’s lyrics and emotive sense of longing is juxtaposed with the warm, floating imagery.

Depicting a night on the tiles gone weird, the video for Quarter Past Midnight is a trippy fever dream of hedonism that spirals out of control. Shot over a series of days in Paris by Bastille music video veteran Austin Peters (Flaws, Laura Palmer, Oblivion) it all begins with Dan Bastille’s iconic hair being attacked with a razor before he finds himself taking one surreal turn after another.

Frontman Dan Smith says “We made the video over a couple of days and nights in Paris with our incredibly talented friend, and long-time collaborator, Austin Peters. It’s is a nod towards some of our favourite films and directors. Like the album as a whole, it’s a surreal journey through euphoric highs and lows of a night, and all that comes with it: the escapism, warped realities, and unclear memories.”

“A bunch of friends came along to be involved and help make the video,” adds Smith. “We’re really happy that they did because it’s a celebration of all the amazing people who are partying and feeling alive at night, in light of the strange, dark world we live in. And we could all use a bit of celebration sometimes.”

Following his performance on CONAN, Marlon Williams presents a new video for Make Way For Love’s Party Boy. On Party Boy, over an urgent, moody gallop that recalls the cowboy vibes of his debut album’s Hello Miss Lonesome, Williams conjures the image (a composite of people he knows) of that guy who has just the stuff to keep the party going ‘til dawn, and who you might catch “sniffin’ around” your “pride and joy.”

Williams, who directed the video, comments, “I’ve never directed anything before. I can’t even direct my dirty laundry into a washing machine. So this was an eye opening experience. I present an exploration into the dynamic between the individual and the pack. Antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated and ostracisation will be the result.”
(Please note this video contains sensitive content)

On the eve of their Australian live debut at VIVID LIVE this week, DREAMS delivers not one, but two remixes from hip hop original Grandmaster Flash. Full of classic bombastic flare, old school drum patterns, and his trademark cuts and scratches, Grandmaster spins No One Defeats Us and Silence into a love letter to the golden age of hip hop.

Luke Steele explains, “Working with Flash was incredible and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Speaking with him I really got to understand how much he wanted to see the dimensions of the songs, know everything about them, what they meant and what they were speaking about.

“It was amazing talking to him on the phone and hearing his fire for the vision. I could see the parks in the Bronx, the streets and clubs with the B-Boys battling it down at the command of the master controller.

“The hustle, the scents, the sound of the culture. Just breathtaking thinking about it all and the fact DREAMS has become involved with such a legend.

“He is an artisan of sound, a figure of the future, the king of style and a power for the people.”

Lenny Kravitz will release his brand new studio album, Raise Vibration
on September 7 via BMG. Low is a pulsating introspective composition dealing with the issue of preconceptions in the beginning of a relationship. It’s a funky cinematic groove layered with horns, strings and multi layered vocals with the help from the late great Michael Jackson.

Lenny Kravitz elevates the union of rock ‘n’ roll, funk, blues, and soul once again on his eleventh full-length album, Raise Vibration. Receptive to youthful inspiration, but enlightened by three decades of wisdom, it represents a powerful creative rebirth and a bold, bright, and brilliant body of work befitting of his legacy and boundless spirit.

Indian/American progressive metal band SKYHARBOR release a new track Dim today on Entertainment One / Good Fight Music from their forthcoming LP, Sunshine Dust, due out September 7, 2018. Dim is available on all DSPs beginning today, and as an iTunes instant gratification track, meaning fans who pre-order Sunshine Dust on iTunes will receive the song as an immediate download.

About Sunshine Dust, Skyharbor guitarist Keshav Dhar says, “It’s taken almost four years and it’s been a real labor of love. but we’re thrilled to finally get this record out there to our fans. We’re incredibly stoked on these songs and have really dug in deep to explore and represent what we truly feel is the Skyharbor sound.”

Teasing in March with new single Let It Slip today Luca Brasi confirm the release of their fourth album – Stay – set for release June 22nd on Cooking Vinyl Australia.

Today the band have also shared the video clip for Let It Slip, the first taste of the forthcoming album. The video, a collaboration with Taroona High, the school lead singer Tyler Richardson teaches at, and Canon Australia sees the band get schooled on how to make a music video. The students were involved in the production, filming and appeared on camera too, part of a Canon youth development initiative.

Rita Ora is set to continue her run of top ten hits with the new single, Girls featuring Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX. The new single which debuted on Friday has already jumped Top 20 on iTunes in the first 24 hours and amassed almost 3 million streams on Spotify in its first weekend.

Rita Ora says of the single: “These past few years I’ve been so inspired by all the strong women I’ve seen who aren’t afraid to be themselves. For those who aren’t afraid to rule the world, this is our anthem. A celebration of love. And of course thank you to all the fellow boss women who so kindly graced this song with me – each representing who they are and where they are from. I hope you dance your socks off with us!”

In the last 12 months, Rita has sold a staggering half a million singles cementing herself as one of the most successful UK pop acts of the last decade. The return to music last year culminated in 1 billion streams and views worldwide and four globe-spanning smash hit singles and 7 ARIA Accreditations.

After a massive 2017, neo-soul vocalist Maya is back with a stellar new single Blackout, about a moment forever lost in time. Produced by the renowned Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe, Meg Mac, British India), Blackout is an exciting addition to Maya’s impressive discography. The young artist has also dropped a video to accompany the track, directed by Grace Moore.

Blackout is ominous, and intuitive – as though Maya knows something we all don’t, and she’s trying to let us know. Her flawless vocals sit atop a motivated rhythm section with urgency and skill, as her lyrics persuade the listener to pay attention. Joel Quartermain’s expert touch has propelled Blackout into a whole new dimension for Maya, and as her star begins to rise one can only wonder what’s to follow. Speaking on the creation of the track, Maya says, “Releasing this single has got to be one of the most exciting times of my career. Blackout means so much to me lyrically and I feel like the production is the next step sound that really represents my aesthetic…Most people have ‘blacked out’ before, whether it’s when they drink, if they black out a bad memory, or if they just forget certain things. This song takes you through my perspective and how I felt when it happened to me – it was inspired by so many moments of blackout in myself that I still fight everyday.”

The video is as striking as the track itself. Dramatic lighting cloaks Maya and her sisters, as Maya tries to navigate her own personal blackout. Maya was specific about her goals for the video, as she reflects, “The Blackout video shows a cross between the dark reality and positive space. It captures a representation of the dark energies that are felt in those fragile times, juxtaposed with a bright, welcoming space that leads to happiness. The video, set the morning after the night before, features the Blackout Girls chasing me out of my dark memories until finally I arrive at a space where there is no black. There I’m free from the watchful eyes of the blackout, and surrounded by positivity and light.”

Melbourne triple-threat Maribelle (aka Maribelle Añes) is back on the scene with a new single and a new outlook on life. I’m A Mess Without You marks the first new music from Maribelle since 2016’s Overtake EP – features Maribelle’s now trademark percussive vocal, a throbbing bassline and a self-described “body rolling beat”.

I’m A Mess Without You sees Maribelle as the auteur of her own musical universe, documenting the start of a new relationship and coming to terms with her sexuality.

“This song is very personal for me. It’s about me reflecting on being confused about having feelings for a girl for the first time,” she explains.

“I was hiding my feelings for somebody, and hurting them because I wasn’t being honest with myself. It’s actually about my current girlfriend and the early stages of our relationship. I was out in the club one night and had a ‘Days Of Our Lives’ montage of all of our memories together, and just realised what a mess I was being.”

I’m A Mess Without You poured out of Maribelle at the tail end of a month of songwriting sessions in LA, London, Finland and Sweden.

“It wasn’t until the very last day, a few hours before my flight home to Australia that I’m A Mess Without You came together. Mario Marchetti (Demi Lovato, Jojo) and I wrote the whole thing in about an hour and I flew home,” she says.

For more music and tour news, interviews, live reviews and photos head to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.