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Good Morning

Barnyard

    Good Morning, the Melbourne duo of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons, are rulebreakers. Not in a sexy, flamboyant way — more in a casual, resigned kind of way. Accidental and incidental rulebreakers. They are friends first, band second, business third, often in spite of function, and often at their own expense. Every time the machinations of the industry have zigged, Good Morning have zagged.

    In late 2019, after the release of The Option and Basketball Breakups, with a lengthy American tour looming, Good Morning decided to go back to basics — to record as a duo again, as they had on 2014's Shawcross and 2016's Glory. Over the course of the year, they demoed any number of songs in their Collingwood studio space, meeting up every Tuesday to write and record together as they always had. In November, as their American tour wrapped up, the pair decamped in Chicago, to properly record the demos they had amassed at Wilco’s famed studio, The Loft, with Tom Schick, the studio’s in-house engineer.

    Despite how quietly epochal Barnyard is — a milestone in the history of Good Morning — it’s also the band’s most meditative record, thoughtful and careful in its evocations. Barnyard is world-weary, concerned with the state of things in a loose, unfocussed sort of way. In other words, like we all are — frustrated both with the way things are and with everyone’s general inability to fix any of the many issues endemic to our society.

    In spite of the appropriately bleak vibe, these songs feature some of Good Morning’s catchiest and most distinctive productions. The spritely groove and easygoing harmonies of “Depends On What I Know” belie its frustration-ridden lyrics; the gripping, awesome propulsion of “Country” persists in spite of its appeal to return to a simpler, easier way of being. Thoughtful, melodic, and idiosyncratic, Barnyard is all the things one might love about Good Morning, this time around presented with the fat trimmed and the edges sharpened, loose ends tied and ducks all in a row.


    TRACK LISTING

    1. Too Young To Quit
    2. Depends On What I Know
    3. Wahlberg
    4. Yng_Shldn
    5. Matthew Newton
    6. Tree
    7. I’ve Been Waiting
    8. Burning
    9. Big Wig // Small Dog
    10. Never Enough
    11. Green Skies
    12. Country

    This is Rodrigo Amarante’s first solo record. It was made during an unexpected but very welcome exile, in a land he wouldn't have predicted he’d linger for too long; the west of the west. But the sense of distance and his newly acquired refreshing anonymity kept him staying. Rodrigo found himself leaning on that distance, projecting onto it, the space echoing back to him with a new voice.

    Cavalo means horse in Portuguese, a word also used for people who channel spirits in service, something normal to Brazilians. Another instance of an amalgam between vehicle and vehiculated, and writing these songs felt like that, an attempt to merge these often conflicting voices, the mind, and the gut.

    Rodrigo repeatedly found himself a foreigner, an explorer, moving from city to city every three years as a kid. He pretended to have the forbearance and courage he ended up forging while secretly carrying the resentment of the imposed detours, of the wait to return. When he finally arrived back in Rio no longer a child and with an accent three times tampered he realized that his hometown wasn't his, that he had invented it in light of what he saw elsewhere, its memory a dream of scents and light that didn't seem to exist in space, maybe in time. He discovered himself a stranger, what he had been since he first left and knew to be temporary, what he realized was definitive. And it was a bitterness at first but it slowly turned into something sweet, warm, he felt free and grateful, he had to invent that too, cut the bushes to a new path. He departed again.


    TRACK LISTING

    01. Nada Em Vão
    02. Hourglass
    03. Mon Nom
    04. Irene
    05. Maná
    06. Fall Asleep
    07. The Ribbon
    08. O Cometa
    09. Cavalo
    10. I'm Ready
    11. Tardei

    You may know Rodrigo Amarante already. You may have heard "Tuyo," his theme tune to the Netflix drama Narcos, or the Little Joy album, recorded with Fab Moretti and Binki Shapiro, you might have noted his name among the credits on songs by Gal Costa, Norah Jones and Gilberto Gil; or perhaps you saw him play live with Brazilian samba big band Orquestra Imperial, or with Rio rockers Los Hermanos; you really should have heard his debut album, Cavalo, released in 2014. You may think you know Rodrigo Amarante already, but Drama, his second solo album, is going to introduce a whole new level of confusion to the mix.

    Drama is purposefully caricatural, cinematic; "As biased as memory". It flows as an arch, playfully deceiving, like a tale. The ominous opening number gives you a hint that things might not be what they appear, and clues are hiding in plain sight. "Projection, attachment, deception: that is Drama." The sunny upbeat start of "Maré", with a nearly childish opening melody, echoes something less naïf: "The tide will fetch what the ebb brings". The beat helps you move past. "Tango" sounds like falling in love on the dance floor, warm and tropical, it celebrates companionship, while perhaps pleading for it, yearning. "Tara," meanwhile, feels like something Astrud Gilberto might have sung at the height of bossa nova’s global popularity, with the twist of the big-band-era muted horns on the chorus, nearly self-deprecating, as if mocking such idealized infatuation.

    Drama closes with the piano on "The End." To live is to fall. After all the emotional upheavals the singer has put his cast through, is this some kind of farewell to this mortal coil? "Everything Furthers." says Amarante. "Whispering, you get louder like that, people respond better to an invitation," and adds: "Staring at the absurd while remaining kind, being open to the gifts of confusion; that's why we create these tools that are stories and songs, to help us see each other."

    TRACK LISTING

    01. Drama
    02. Maré
    03. Tango
    04. Tara
    05. Tanto
    06. I Can't Wait
    07. Tao
    08. Sky Beneath
    09. Eu Com Você
    10. Um Milhão
    11. The End

    Of Montreal

    The Bedside Drama A Petite Tragedy

      Originally released in 1998, Of Montreal's second full-length features uncredited appearances by members of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Late B.P. Helium. The album was the first where Of Montreal built characters around concepts. Although not as developed as later of Montreal concept albums, "The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy" is infused with Vaudevillian elements that foreshadowed of Montreal's break-out albums "The Gay Parade" and "Coquelicot Asleep In The Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse". According to All Music Guide, the album 'marked a crucial stage in the evolution from the lo-fi garage pop of Cherry Peel to the ambitious rock carnival of The Gay Parade and cemented of Montreal's status as one of the most creatively relevant groups of the late 90s.'


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