Happy Listening: The 5 best new releases of the week

This week will go down in history. In a world raptured by chaos, there has been one beacon of hope guiding us through this time. A light through a weather of chaos. It was this week that we heard the words we’ve been waiting months to hear. “As of June 1st, NSW pubs will be allowed to re-open.” 

The crowds went wild, there was cheering in the streets. We had finally made it out the other side, our favourite cultural pastime in tow. Not really, but at least your favourite dives will have some sensational new tracks to spin once their doors have re-opened. Here are five of Happy’s top picks for this week.

Photo: EMI Music

Crack open a cold one with the 49 other patrons of your favourite pub, and dive into Happy’s best new releases for this week.

Kate NV – Plans

Mid-week, Russian artist Kate NV treated us to the third released track from her upcoming album Room for the Moon. Following in the footsteps of Marafon 15 and Sayonara, Plans gently cascades around the absurdity of our current situation, pulling along the singer’s Moscow psychedelic stylings.

“The song is about plans and the absurdity of the events surrounding us,” the artist explained in a statement. “It is about how everything constantly collapses and changes, that nothing is really clear and that it is impossible to plan everything.”

“It was written before the pandemic and economic crisis, and turned out to be as relevant as ever now. It may sound like the meaning is harsh, but the song itself is very funny and sarcastic and it is more about still having fun while there is a complete disaster around us.”

Also released this week, the accompanying music video brings the entire track into technicolour. It’s an ’80s news report on the forth hour of a trip. It’s vibrant, punchy, and elevates Plans into the avant-garde. It’s what Kate NV does best. 

Check it out before Room for the Moon drops on June 12th.

Miiesha – Nyaaringu

On her debut EP, Miiesha traces her journey as a Woorabinda songwriter, offering poignant reflections on community and identity throughout.  Sonically, the collection dips, swirls, and bends through sparkling indie-RnB notes, championing the singer’s silky vocals. However, what Miiesha has created is so much more.

The collection features 13 tracks, including her breakout 2019 single Black Privilege, and three interludes starring her Grandmother. According to a press release from the singer, these interludes represent the knowledge passed down from elders to younger generations within her community.

“She was and always will stay with me as the strongest voice in my life, so I felt she had to be a part of this with me,” Miiesha recalled about her Grandmother’s involvement in the album. “For me [‘Nyaaringu’] represents my journey and where I’m at now coming from Woorabinda.” 

“I want to use my life experience to share stories that bring people together and help people understand my community. It’s in my nature to want to create things and music is the way I feel I can express myself.”

Concluding with the stirring tracks Blood Cells, and Self Care, Nyaaringu is the record that we needed. An affirmation of belonging and connection, but also a reminder of what is still to be done, Miiesha has crafted a powerful beacon amidst global chaos.

Check out Nyaaringu below:

Lady Gaga – Chromatica

In her sixth studio album, Lady Gaga has gone back to basics. However, in true Gaga fashion, her conception of basics is obviously not what you would expect. With a career fostered in the Manhattan club scene, Germanotta carved through a treasure trove of genres in the last 12 years; ’70s piano ballads, ’80s DIY rock, jukebox country, jazz and ’90s house. In Chromatica, she has finally returned to the dance floor, and it’s spectacular.

From just hearing a few tracks of the record, it is clear that the flourishing beats, and synth impulses of dance-pop is where Gaga feels most at ease. Each song bleeds perfectly into the next, crafting a revolving universe of club that overflows with euphoria and an unexpected comfort.

Aesthetically, the record feels more apart of the Grimes catalogue, rather than the Joanne-era Gaga that we’ve seen for the last three years. Yet, it’s almost soothing to see the otherworldly creativity, that we originally knew her for, regain control. It’s 2008 the remix, new and improved.

With followers even creating Cromatica-universe fan fiction, this record clearly stands in its own electro-pop utopia. It feels futuristic, empowered, and free. It feels undeniably Gaga.

Have a listen below:

Mildlife – Rare Air

Melbourne quartet Mildlife have once again spun the best parts of jazz and psych into an irresistible groove. From their upcoming sophomore album Automatic, Rare Air is a sweltering, seven-minute “longing for clarity in the suffocating grip of everyday tedium”. 

Like most COVID-era tracks, the band brandish the single to explore the the anxiety of our future. “[It is] Wondering what life could or will be, but trying to be present despite the temptation to endlessly pontificate every decision,” Mildlife explains to NME.

If the single wasn’t exciting enough, the vinyl release of their upcoming album will further this concept by granting the listener full control. Towards its end, the record will host a locked groove section, causing the album to loop infinitely. This gives audiences the power to decide at what point to stop the record.

“The recorded songs kind of become the new reference point for playing the songs live,” frontman Kevin McDowell explained in a statement.

“They both have different outcomes and we make our decisions for each based on that, but they’re symbiotic and they both influence each other. It’s usually a fairly natural flow from live to recorded back to live.”

Automatic will release on September 18th. Check out Rare Air below:

Foreign/National – The Garden

After a long wait, Foreign/National’s sophomore album is finally here. The Garden bursts with lush riffs, and teaming gardens of melody, elevating the Melbourne group’s quintessential psych-pop into a new realm. Thematically, the album navigates a lot of socially conscious, yet self-referential material. This can most notably be found on their anti-corporate second track Diamond Mine. 

Throughout the record, you can catch influences from King Gizz, all the way to Paul McCartney bled through their meticulously crafted sonic.

“I’ve always obsessed over Paul McCartney’s hidden melisma during the fadeout of ‘I Want To Tell You’, so I did one of my own as a way of paying tribute to the great man,” Tom told MusicFeeds.

Written and recorded between Berlin, Melbourne, and Los Angeles, the album is a triumph, and one that you’ll definitely want to add to your weekend playlist.