In the hands of Courtney Barnett, fragments of everyday life become rich and riveting. A deft lyricist and virtuosic guitarist, she is an emblem of millennial wit and one of Australia’s most successful musical exports.
Based in Melbourne, Barnett first found critical acclaim with 2013’s The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, and broke into the mainstream in 2015 with her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Garnering a coveted Best New Artist Grammy nomination and numerous other accolades, the album stands as a generational classic. Barnett followed her debut with 2017’s Lotta Sea Lice, an acclaimed collaborative record with Kurt Vile, and eschewed the vignettes of her early records on 2018’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, her humid, political sophomore record, which featured the Margaret Atwood-invoking single “Nameless, Faceless”.
Barnett is also a powerhouse live act, playing slots at festivals including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Primavera, and Lollapalooza. In 2021, she’ll release Things Take Time, Take Time, a remarkable artistic step forward. In the meantime, Barnett will undoubtedly continue doing what she does best: translating the chaos of the world into sparkling, indelible poetry.
Melbourne-based, worldwide-beloved, twice-Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote returns in 2021 with their new album Mood Valiant.
Comprised of Naomi “Nai Palm” Saalfield (guitar, vocals), Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (keys), and Perrin Moss (drums), Hiatus Kaiyote broke internationally in 2012 with their first LP, Tawk Tomahawk, which was praised by simpatico musical travellers from Erykah Badu to Questlove to Prince. Their first R&B Grammy nomination, for their song “Nakamarra,” was followed by a second for “Breathing Underwater,” from their sophomore album, 2015’s Choose Your Weapon. Still, their music defied categorization: Some called it “neo-soul,” others “future soul”; the band calls it, simply, wondercore.
The irony of the completion of Mood Valiant was that it coincided with another health crisis, the COVID pandemic. In the Great Pause, the band found more time to tweak, and more time to create. The ups and downs, the starts and stops of the process, inform the very name of the album, for which Nai evoked, again, the spirit of Suzie Ashman: “My mother had two Valiant station wagons, iconic, vintage Aussie cars,” Nai says. “One was white and one was black. And depending on what mood she was in, she would drive one or the other. She was a single mother with six kids: If she drove the black one, you knew not to fuck with her.”
Mood Valiant is an act of love, of courage, of altered perspective, of sister-and-brotherhood.
Hachiku is the brainchild of German-Australian bedroom-producer Anika Ostendorf who writes and produces her home-made dream pop from whichever bedroom she is currently inhabiting.
Hachiku’s self-recorded, self-mixed and self-titled debut EP was released on Australian label Milk! Records in June 2017. Since then Anika has taken her catchy melodies, highly tasteful, textural guitar playing and shimmering walls of sound across the world. Recent shows include opening for Courtney Barnett, touring with the likes of The Breeders & José González around Australia, and opening for Jen Cloher and Snail Mail. A definite highlight in Anika’s career has been an invitation to attend the nordic music festival Iceland Airwaves in 2019 as a representative of Australia’s diverse music culture.
Hachiku’s bedroom beats and autodidactically learned recording and production skills were quick to create a buzz before any official releases, and In 2020, Hachiku recorded and produced a series of ‘isolation covers’ that were released as the 99 Dreams EP.
Hachiku released their debut LP ‘I’ll Probably Be Asleep’ on Milk! Records in November 2021 to widespread critical acclaim “Vast and intimate all at once. A big, beautiful, cinematic whirlpool you can’t help but be swallowed up inside of.” – triple j Unearthed