Happy Listening: the best 5 new releases this week

Happy Listening has returned for an all-Australian edition of the best new releases from Egoism, A. Swayze & the Ghosts, Sampa the Great, and more.

If 2020 has been good for anything it’s been serving up great new music. This Friday is particularly extraordinary, making it especially difficult to narrow down today’s new releases into a tight five. This means you can guarantee this week’s Happy Listening selections are truly the cream of the crop.

Sink your teeth into this collection of shimmery pop gems, powerful political anthems, and throttling rock ragers.

happy listening

EGOISM Here’s the Thing

Following the breakout success of their singles Enemies and You You, Sydney duo EGOISM return with their signature blend of subtle indie-pop guitars, emotion-heavy lyrics, and catchy melodies. Band members Scout and Olive’s vocals play off each other perfectly.

On Instagram, the band described the single as “Our most depressing-ass lyrics yet, this time with a sad-ass vibe to match,” and as with all of EGOISM’s songs, this chorus will bury itself in your brain and refuse to leave. It’ll have you singing “Should you love somebody new?” all day long. Too sad? Too bad.

In the end, Here’s the Thing somehow manages to stay bright and bubbly. It feels like having your heart ripped out, but on a bright summer’s day.

A. Swayze & the Ghosts – Paid Salvation

Tasmanian legends A. Swayze & the Ghosts have today released their long-awaited debut album. Building hype with early singles Suddenly and Mess of Me, as well as a knockout live show, A. Swayze deliver on years’ of expectations with Paid Salvation, 39 minutes of pulsating punk rock.

Recorded with These New South Whales and Stella Donnelly producer Dean Tuza, each track on the album feels like a single, ready to be blasted at full volume or met by a rapturous crowd at an A. Swayze live show.

The band find a way to sound fresh and boundary-pushing across all 12-tracks despite maintaining a sound drenched in lush ’80s post-punk influences.

The opening riff of It’s Not Alright will have you hooked. Press play and go from there.

Sampa the Great – Time’s Up (Remix feat. Junglepussy)

Sampa the Great sent shockwaves through the Australian music industry with the video for her track Time’s Up, a response to the toxicity, misogyny, and racism in the industry. It felt timely, coming the same week Jaguar Jonze called out photographer Jack Stafford for years of abuse in the industry.

Today, Time’s Up returns with a remix from iconic New York rapper Junglepussy, who injects even more fierce feminine energy into the track.

Alongside the remix, Sampa has launched a remix competition calling for Black women and non-binary people around the world to submit verses on the track – so this may not be the last we hear of Time’s Up.

Peter Bibby – Marge

Peter Bibby is one of the most honest songwriters releasing music in Australia right now.

Hailing from Perth and signed to Spinning Top Records, alongside Tame Impala and Pond, Marge is Bibby’s third record of folk-rock storytelling. Bibby’s unique take on Australia, relationships, and self-medication remain strong on Marge, but this time we’re living these stories from a regional setting.

Bibby’s band, the Dog Act, are along for the ride and the layers of distorted guitars and fuller percussive sounds are noticeable from the second track, Oceans. What we end up with is an evolution on the Peter Bibby sound. A fuller, crunchier tone, filled with more focused lyrical adventures, the same amount of Australian bite, and just as many curse words.

Obscura Hail – Siren

Obscura Hail have carved out a lane of their own in the Australian indie scene. A melting pot of influences, the band feel impossible to pin down. Each track on their latest EP Siren exists within a singular, whimsical world, enabling the band to resist pigeon-holing themselves into any one sound.

One thing that does stay consistent across Siren is a sense of cheeky perseverance. Zero, the band’s previous EP, carried a kind of pessimism through it, hamstrung by life’s hardships. Yet somehow in 2020, the year of the pessimist, Siren is an optimistic, audacious journey, thumbing its nose at the trainwreck of a year we’ve had.

Relatable and comforting, Siren is designed to have you clicking replay over and over.

Today was such a jam-packed day for music it deserves a few more shoutouts. If you’re looking for more tunes to fulfil your unquenchable thirst for new music, try out releases from A.G. Cook, Rico Nasty, Kwame, Mildlife, and Shining Bird.