Being in isolation has given us the perfect opportunity to discover new music, as well as to dive back in to old favourites, and here at X-Press, we have been doing just that! Here are the songs, new and old, that our writers have been discovering or rediscovering during isolation.

Matija Zivkovic:

The Lemon Twigs – The One

New York’s the D’Addario brothers modernise 70s rock and psych pop on the first single from their upcoming album Songs for the General Public. Sounding upbeat, it is perfect for an isolation drive, but also there for when you want to wallow in loneliness, with depressing lyrics detailing heartbreak.

Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

Fleetwood Mac are rather iconic, and what’s more iconic than the song they use to open shows with? The Chain is said to have been created from a variety of other rejected material, sung by all of them, with lyrics from Stevie Nicks. Coming from the band’s most successful album Rumours, this is a classic.

Amber Lilley:

Grouplove – Inside Out

Coming from their latest album Healer, the song perfectly shows off Grouplove’s fun and tenacious nature with a touch of nostalgia for the early 2010s. It is some of their best work since Tongue Tied.

Chet Faker (Nick Murphy) – Talk is Cheap

The Hottest 100 winning track is the right amount of chill and ambient to help with coronavirus related stress. Listening reminds you of simpler times and brings about a sense of calm.

Chris Havercroft:

HAIM – The Steps

Danielle Haim said that, “We wanted to write something we could really perform — something up-tempo that felt like a karate kick to the face,” and that’s exactly what the sister trio have created. It will help you scream out all that rage you might be feeling at cancelled plans.

Katie Pruitt – Georgia

Chris said, “each word in it is perfect and people should hear her,” and he is right. A perfect ballad, this track is beautifully honest and tugs at the heartstrings.

Guided by Voices – Echos Myron

It may be hard to choose just one Guided by Voices song, among their 41 full length albums, but if you HAD to listen to just one, it’s this. But I mean, you have time, you may as well listen to all their albums, it’s worth it. (They even have one called Isolation Drills.)

Calogero Algeri:

Adrian Dzvuke – Bad Like Ri Ri (feat. POW! Negro)

A Perth powerhouse duo made in heaven, this track gives you that summer vibe, even though we are slowly but surely coming into winter. It will be perfect for your isolation dance parties.

Frank Ocean – Pink Matter (feat. Andre3000)

What’s a list without a Frank Ocean song? From his debut Channel Orange, this song just has such a good vibe. It’s laid back with a nice little riff, but has a nice little beat that kicks in. Frank’s vocals are smooth as butter, and soothe the soul.

Kool and the Gang – Summer Madness

Not in the mood for vocals? This funky jam is for you. With a riveting bass line, and a touch of strings, it is the perfect song to have on in the background whilst working from home.

Linda Dunjey:

Lana Del Rey – The Greatest

I’m not usually a Lana del Ray fan but I love The Greatest from Norman Fucking Rockwell. I mean really love it. Each time I hear it I find something new to appreciate. The lyrics aren’t all amazingly profound (and in fact I hate the title) but I find the hooks-laden tune and the instrumentation add to the world-weary nostalgia. This song yearns for a time you didn’t realise how good things really were.

Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone

I have never found a song to come near it. I first heard it when I was in boarding school in Perth – fresh from the wilds of Papua New Guinea. I used to lay in bed with my little transistor radio pressed to my ear – drifting off to sleep just soaking up as much music as I could. One night I was almost asleep when this sneering passionate voice galvanised me – made me sit bolt upright, singing “How does it feel? How does it feel… with no direction home…like a complete un-known? Like a rolling stone.” It launched my adolescent and adult musical journey.

Melissa Kruger:

NOFX – I Love You More Than I Hate Me

Released purely to help fans during the pandemic. “We’re all stuck at home right now so here’s the first of many new free NOFX songs,” the band wrote on YouTube. “I realized today that I have tonnes of new NOFX songs and videos from our new album, which won’t be out ’til sometime this summer, but since everyone’s, like, stuck at home and bored, I’m just gonna release a bunch of songs now so people can all enjoy them before we’re all dead,” frontman Fat Mike added on Instagram.

Tool – Schism

The first single from Lateralus, the track starts with such a signature bass line, and weaves its way through multiple time signatures. It’s a Grammy Award-winning song for a reason.

Anya Harris:

Daft Punk – Around the World

I think we’re all wishing we could go back to the 90s and who better than Daft Punk to take us there? Around the World seems quite fitting at the moment; those three words repeated 144 times to make sure you don’t forget exactly what’s going on outside, but also a little funky track to give us a little piece-of-mind and a boogie in the kitchen.

Paul Doughty:

JPEGMAFIA – Free the Frail (feat. Helena Deland)

Peggy nails this track from last year’s LP, All My Heroes Are Cornballs. Bass, pace, soul, swagger, just right amount of melody moving the track along, with a spot-on little cameo by Helena Deland… Free the Frail highlights JPEGMAFIA’s potential for mind-shifting ‘hits’. Why he often prefers to shock and shout instead… only Peggy knows.

Crumb – Part III

Brooklyn youngsters Crumb possess a preternatural ability to channel dreamy psychedelic vistas from their pop-leaning numbers. On their all-too-short debut album from 2019, Jinx, mid-album track Part III showcased a strong grasp of mood, composition and tone all in about four minutes. Put it on repeat, the whole album.

My Bloody Valentine – Slow

This song’s been on my ‘favourites’ playlist for…well, decades. Lifted from 1988’s You Made Me Realise EP, it has just the right amount of grungy rock and sexy pouting from their Isn’t Anything phase, but with the hypnotic shape-shifting guitars that push and pull the tempo like mini-tides within the track a la Loveless (1991). Still, Slow moves to a time all its own.

Broadcast – Echos Answer

Broadcast posed their own musical questions during their relatively short duration, with singer Trish Keenan passing away in 2011 from influenza after an Australasian tour (including their only performance in Perth). The Noise Made By People (2000) is the perfect indoors/it’s raining outside album, or possibly something you’d hear faintly on the speakers in an empty airport as you run to board the last plane, your footsteps echoing through the corridors.

Zack Yusof:

The Radio Dept. – You Fear the Wrong Thing Baby

Perfect for the late nights when you can’t sleep, or the long boring days that seem to drag on, this song is both dark and beautiful at the same time. You can’t go wrong with a bit of reverb. With lyrics detailing the end of the world, it’s only appropriate to give it a listen during the current times.

The Modern Lovers – She Cracked

Existing from 1970 – 1974, American band The Modern Lovers recordings were not released until 1976. While the band broke up early in their career, their album still brought inspiration to many, and members went on to join the likes of The Cars and Talking Heads.

Kierra Pollock:

Dua Lipa – Pretty Please

I’m not generally the biggest pop fan, those who know me would have expected something from The Strokes’ latest offering or something similar, but what can I say, Dua Lipa is my guilty pleasure, and isolation has only made my love for her, and for pop music in general, grow. Future Nostalgia is an almost perfect pop album, and Pretty Please is one of my favourites from it, with a funky bassline and great melodies – you can’t help but to dance along.

The Cure – Just Like Heaven

It just has that perfect riff that sticks in your brain and rattles around in there until you listen to the song again. Robert Smith’s voice is lovely, and the synth line in the background makes you feel like you really are in heaven.

Brayden Edwards:

Methyl Ethel – Majestic AF

This song just builds and builds. Just when you feel you’re settling into a groove the synths and guitars introduce new melodies that at first seem obscure, but in moments blossom into something that feels inevitable and euphoric. The vocals on display take you to a different place outside the confines of your house. Truly majestic as fuck.

Juice WRLD – Righteous

A posthumous gift few of us saw coming, which made it all the more bittersweet. This meditative groove, and the video that accompanied it sees Juice taking on his demons of addiction and anxiety in a triumphant stare down. It’s a sad yet empowering memento given the late Chicago rapper’s passing in December last year, as he flexes his ability to capture both the big picture and the most intimate details in the same brushstroke.

Harvey Rae:

Okkervil River – The War Criminal Rises and Speaks

There’s something heartbreaking about a war criminal discovered in hiding 30 years after his atrocious crimes, but Okkervil River’s underrated 2003 gem gets to the human side of the stain. That makes it something of a perfect allegory for actual heartbreak, and recommended listening for anyone going through a Coronavirus break up. From opening lines “The heart wants to feel/ The heart wants to hold,” through to “Please stop ignoring the heart inside, oh you readers at home!/ While you gasp at my bloody crimes, please take the time to make your heart my home,” putting this back to back with Okker classic 8-minute epic So Come Back, I’m Waiting might just reduce you to a puddle.

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