Music Wrap: The must-listen to tracks from June



All killer no filler.

Hello human. Welcome to Fashion Journal’s new monthly music wrap. I guess I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Eliza Sholly. I live on stolen Gadigal land in Sydney (via Naarm) and I am your resident music aficionado. I won’t be introducing myself every time I write one of these, so I ask you to indulge in the cringe just this once.

I have loved participating in music for as long as I can remember. When I was six years old, my dad used to drive us past JB Hi-Fi on Saturday mornings on the way to netball. Each week he’d promise that if we won our game, he would give in to my begging and we could go in and select a $2 single on the way home.

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While that probably says more about my dad’s parenting style than my foray into sonic excellence, it hopefully paints a picture of me as an early-day musical connoisseur.

My love evolved from there, and today – when not pestering my mates about songs – I spend my days as a full-time journalist. I write and interview for Fashion Journal on occasion, DJ unprofessionally, host and model at body-inclusive life-drawing events for women/gender non-conforming humans, participate in a wine club, swim in the ocean, make memes + lots of fun musings in between.

What you’ll find about my music taste is that it isn’t genre, era or language-specific. I find joy in it all. Even hating music brings me joy, thanks to the critical thinking that comes alongside it. Each month via this column I shall be using my powers for good, curating a round-up of notable happenings that can keep you industry-informed.

New York TimesThe Daily podcast is described as a means to become better equipped to participate at a dinner party. If that’s the case, then reading this is the way you can impress your most musically up-to-date friends.

I will aim to cover a breadth of talent; transcending colour, sexuality, gender, language, ability, popularity and geography – but please, hit the DMs at @elizasholly with feedback if you feel so inclined. Don’t be too harsh though, selecting music is all I have. For your convenience, all of this month’s picks can be found on the playlist below. Enjoy the first round.

Lorde – ‘Solar Power’

Starting off my column with an obvious, booty-clad BANG. New Zealand’s industry darling has come out of her Rihanna-length hiatus and used June to return with a new single named ‘Solar Power’, as well as news of an upcoming album and tour.

If 2017’s Melodrama provided dulcet wintertime brooding, then this sun-kissed single makes it clear she has well and truly ditched us for the Northern Hemisphere. The sounds are reminiscent of summers by the sea, featuring production from Jack Antonoff and backup vocals from Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers.

TBQH, although a little left of centre for her sonically, I’m a little stumped as to why anyone would consider this song anything but predictable. Lorde, Jack Antonoff, Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers – I can hear the record execs ejaculating now.

Elle Musa – Sun, Sun, Sun EP

Speaking of sunshine, bless your earholes with this newbie from Brisbane multi-disciplinary pop artist, Elle Musa. Her EP Sun, Sun, Sun is Blondie meets The Beach Boys. Radiohead meets Malibu-era Miley. Sunburnt melodies meets Vitamin D infused lyrics. In five songs, Elle pens a love letter to, well, love.

A love for place in ‘Bibi’s Bay’ (Nights at the bay like sapphires sparkling / Let’s never, ever leave our Hawaii), a love for summer in ‘Mango Pops’ (Mango pops on a summer’s day / Makes me feel like I’m going to live forever), a love for people in ‘Geminis’ (Oh how much I love you more / All of my Geminis), and a clear love of beautiful lyric arrangements in ‘Coco Honey You & I’ (Such a daze, such a daze these days). Keep with the theme and love this EP.

Cassettes For Kids – Boiler Room set

Kind of sort of not really squeezing into June was this Boiler Room set from Cassettes For Kids. Held in collaboration with Lost Sundays at The Ivy, this 43-minute face-melter features high energy house and disco, a hint of garage and some loaded drum and bass.

Having been in the audience myself (flex), I can attest to the electricity of this unbelievable set. It was absolutely absurd in all the right ways; a personal highlight being the ‘Feel Good Inc.’ remix that lands at the 36 minute mark. Most of the crowd bought tickets anticipating headliner DJ Boring, but left talking about the trademark executions of this Naarm-based producer. Get excited about the supremacy of local dance music and rinse it in your headphones ASAP.

Little Simz – ‘Rolling Stone’

‘Rolling Stone’ is the third track to be unveiled from Little Simz’ forthcoming album, ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’. Simz is one of the most important voices in the game today. Her tracks are a potent, no-holds barred examination of the world, and how that intersects with her own internal and peripheral monologues. Class, race, industry, gender – hard topics are made easy by quick-fire raps and intimidating instrumentals.

“Mummy handled business / Papa was a rolling stone / I’m a mix a both there ain’t no bitch boy in my bones”, ‘Rolling Stone’ channels off the Richter rage, highlighting just how hard she has worked to get to where she is right now.

Eagle Eye Jones – ‘Paperskin’

Eagle Eye Jones are a five-piece funk-rock slash psychedelic blues outfit from Sydney’s scattered North Shore. They’re known mostly for a song called ‘Bad Omens’, which permeates just below the mainstream radar but serves as an illustrious anthem for those in the know. Another track – ‘Do Old Houses Dream’ – landed in my most played of 2020 thanks to infinite rinses during lockdown.

Their latest track, ‘Paperskin’, is a musing that depicts the fleeting nature of the world around us. Written during March 2020’s COVID lockdown, singer Luke Saunders is more optimistic than nihilistic, pausing to reflect on the malleability of once-concrete literal and figurative constructs. The track premiered alongside visuals by photographer and videographer Kane Lehanneur, adding to the metaphorical allure of ‘Paperskins’ subject matter.

Peggy Gou – ‘Nabi’

The name Peggy Gou can sometimes be enough to produce an eye-roll among the musically inclined, particularly if it’s followed by “play ‘Itgehane’”. Say what you want about her, it doesn’t change the fact that she is one talented, well-dressed human being. ‘Nabi’ is Gou’s first release in over two years and the follow-up to (the perhaps overplayed) ‘Starry Night’.

The song is lower tempo, filled with nostalgic 808s and nods to her Korean language and musical influences. It’s also the first of two songs she will release in the next few months, putting out a statement that read, “While the forthcoming follow up is set to dial up the tempo, kicks, 808s and 909s to soundtrack a summer where we can all (hopefully) dance together in our thousands again”.

Amindi – ‘Haircut’

Jamaican/American singer Amindi, formerly known as Amindi K. Fro$t, is fun with a capital F. Speaking to Noisey a few years ago, she described herself as a someone who was “raised like a Q-tip. One side is dipped in my LA culture while the other side is dipped in my very strong household Jamaican culture.”

These two influences permeated to create ‘Pine and Ginger’, the 2017 single that hurled her into the limelight. Four years later, Amindi is still making music, the latest product of which is a genre-bending, self-love track titled ‘Haircut’. Black women and their relationship to hair is nothing short of sacred and religious, something that’s reiterated in the visuals when Amindi takes herself on a date to the hairdresser. Dreamy production, soul-filled vocals and self-care – we love to see it.

H.E.R. – ‘Back of My Mind’

It feels bizarre calling Back Of My Mind a debut album, considering H.E.R. has already garnered a slew of accolades and is halfway to an EGOT. But technically, that’s what it is – a debut. Back Of My Mind sees the anonymous R&B singer satisfy genre purists through a soulful, romantic and vulnerable record.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the sonic evolution of H.E.R. to culminate with the release of this album. In the time since, I have come to love it even more. Vulnerabilities are crooned over gnarly guitar solos, falsetto notes go hand-in-hand with thoughtful verses from hand-picked collaborators. Listen to this long-awaited debut and bask in H.E.R’s triumphant nimbleness.

Other notable mentions:

‘Keep On Coming feat. CD’ – Moodyman

‘The Angel of 8th Ave.’ – Gang of Youths

‘Bussdown feat. Shaybo’– Jorja Smith

‘We Gotta Wake This World Up From Its Sleep’ – Folamour

‘Glass’ – Valentino Mora

‘Disco Pantz’ – Rejjie Snow, Tanisha and Grouptherapy

‘Glidin’ – Pa Salieu feat. Slowthai

‘Call Me If You Get Lost’ – Tyler, The Creator

‘Sketamine’ – Dean Blunt

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