Happy Listening is your one-stop-shop for the best new releases each Friday. This week you can find fresh tracks from Sufjan Stevens, Ruby Fields, and Wilson’s Prom.
Welcome back to Happy Listening, a rapid-fire list of the best new releases that need to be at the top of your radar this weekend.
In today’s instalment, we’ve picked out some heart-on-sleeve indie rock, anthemic punk, and dreamy adolescent pop for your listening pleasure.
Ruby Fields – Pretty Grim
Ruby Fields has come crashing back from a year of touring with a brand new single. Packed to the brim with the earnest songwriting and catchy hooks that have earnt her a passionate following around Australia, it could easily be one of her best releases yet.
Pretty Grim thrives through great songwriting. The relatable verses and stripped back bridge give way to a powerful chorus. While touches of piano are new to Fields’ repertoire, they perfectly complement the singer’s cutting vulnerability on a track that she explains is about “mental health and not yet having found a balance with drinking.”
Coming close to the magic of her breakout single Dinosaur, Pretty Grim is an angst-filled summer anthem. Prepare to hear it everywhere for the next six months.
Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension
Ethereal-being Sufjan Stevens returns with his first solo album since 2015’s inconsolably sad Carrie & Lowell. The Ascension returns to the singer-songwriter’s more grandiose, electronic sounds found on releases like The Age of Adz: layering his emotions over swirling crescendos and arpeggiating synths.
This album also sees Steven embrace the political. “The shifting tides of America’s priorities have stung the artist, forcing an outward commentary,” Happy Mag author Manning Patston analyses about the piece.
Read our full review here and press play on The Ascension to get sucked into the ever-changing world of Sufjan Stevens.
Everything ONEFOUR did this week
Mount Druitt locals and buzzed Australian rap group ONEFOUR have had a busy week, collaborating with big-name internationals A$AP Ferg, Headie One, and dutchavelli. It’s safe to say that they have singlehandedly offered up some of the best new releases for this week. After collaborating on Say It Again earlier this year, A$AP Ferg and ONEFOUR have linked up New York drill rapper Fivio Foreign for Aussie Freaks: a hyped drill track off Ferg’s new album Floor Seats II.
ONEFOUR even pop up on a new, international drill possé cut called Flock Diaries. The jet-setting banger features England’s dutchavelli, France’s Kekra, Albania’s Noizy, and India’s DIVINE, with the Druitt group producing some uniquely Australian bars, “parcel came like a rugby ball, put that in a tee and boot it.”
Western Sydney has officially gone worldwide. Check it out below:
Wilson’s Prom – Manifest Protagonist
Wilson’s Prom is the new project of Melbourne musicians Merpire and Feelds, recorded entirely in isolation. It finds the duo bringing together their styles of indie rock and folk in order to create sweet, dreamy ballads designed to give you a rush of adolescent emotions.
Floating somewhere between Soccer Mommy and Big Scary, Manifest Protagonist draws from images of sweaty hand-holding and school gymnasiums over rich layered guitars to fill you with warm, uncomplicated feelings.
Much like a school dance, Wilson’s Prom use the limited tools at their disposal to create a touch of magic.
The duo’s self-titled EP is out November 4th.
IDLES – Ultra Mono
IDLES have no use for subtlety. Lead singer Joe Talbot’s lyrics are as clear and to-the-point as they come. Take Don’t Knock Me for example, a pummeling punk-rock track that roughly translates to “don’t touch me”, with Talbot and Savages lead singer Jenny Beth repeatedly yelling “consent”.
Covering capitalism, Black Lives Matter, and social unity, Ultra Mono includes 12 tightly packaged anthems for those feeling disenfranchised and overwhelmed.
Like Black Flag, The Sex Pistols, and Rage Against the Machine before them, IDLES don’t mince words. They say it how it is and let it all out over heavy guitars, which is exactly what we all need sometimes.