Track Of The Day: Sophomore – ‘Montenegro’

Following last May’s timely single ‘Social-Distancing’, a track which tackled important issues such as the spread of misinformation amidst the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian-based alt-rock foursome Sophomore have recently thrown their latest refreshingly punchy single ‘Montenegro’ into the ring. Only the band’s third single, but undoubtedly a release set to solidify their rightful place within Australia’s recently opened and ever-growing gig circuit, ‘Montenegro’ was written in an old olive mill-turned-hostel, nestled deep in the mountains of Montenegro from which this exciting new release takes its name.

Despite the exotic writing location, the track itself is wholly relatable to anyone who has lived through the past year, as it explores the feeling of being lost despite being unable to escape the place that find yourself in. Its repeated, yet captivatingly catchy, lyrics speak about waking with the “best of intentions” only to be stopped in your tracks, despite having “nowhere to go…” It also touches on being far from home – a harsh reality experienced by a countless number of Australians who struggled to get back into the country last year, for which this track could serve as a subtle acknowledgement.

Lead guitarist and vocalist Vanessa oozes a nostalgia for ’90s grunge and simpler times with a new-age Pixies vocal that chimes in alongside a deep and progressive baseline, immediately drawing us into this modest yet thought-provokingly explosive track. Anticipation continues to build as both Vanessa and rhythm guitarist Elly’s moody yet mesmerising harmonies strike out against the resonant attack of the kit, entrancing us with the band’s poignant riff-based resurgence of the post-rock genre.

‘Montenegro’ is accompanied by a video of the band getting lost in the endless corridors of a building that has laid abandoned since the 1920s – the perfect location choice for the song’s inescapable yet blissfully honest narrative. 

Watch the video here:

Find out more about Sophomore on their Facebook page.

Lauren Roberts
@robauren

Track Of The Day: Middle Kids – ‘Questions’

With warm anthem-like familiarity and an intimate, interpersonal perspective, Sydney based Middle Kids bring us a soothing sentiment in their stellar new single, ‘Questions’. 

Released via Lucky Number, ‘Questions’ comes as an exhilarating answer indicating the phenomenal sounds to come from Middle Kids’ anticipated 2021 album. As rhythmic claps fade, vocalist Hannah Joy’s lyrics ooze a welcome sense of nostalgia. Floating among Joy’s personal revelations surrounding alcohol and our closest relationships, the track serves as a delicate illustration of the tiny moments that weigh beyond their size. Synths spread like elastic and make a hearty bed for Middle Kids to jump on with catchy pop guitar hooks and eager drums, whilst simple instrumental melodies delivered with an orchestral grandeur exude an emotive impact that is both subtle and enormous. 

‘Questions’ is a melancholic soundscape that embraces the cleanliness of modern pop, yet tonally bears the heaviness of experience. In regard to the band’s work, Joy confides: “I want to make music that loves its listener. Music that makes people feel seen…” With the honesty and tenderness found in this new single, it appears she has done just that. Middle Kids’ ‘Questions’ is a safe-space of confession and the euphoria that follows, an experience in itself.

Today We’re The Greatest, the upcoming new album from Middle Kids, is set for release 19th March via Lucky Number. Pre-save here.

Jillian Goyeau
@jillybxxn

Photo Credit: Daphne Nguyen

Track Of The Day: Middle Kids – ‘R U 4 ME?’

Like a wash of fulfillment that brushes your cheeks as you run through a field of wildflowers, Middle Kids’ ‘R U 4 Me?’ is an instant holiday. With a nostalgic groove that breathes with a contemporary sigh, Middle Kids have chiseled out a mastery of a sound for themselves that covers so much ground.

Vocalist Hannah Joy enthrals swirling emotions with her warm melodies and pondering lyrics that discuss the ways in which we talk to one another. Tone is everything, and ‘R U 4 Me?’ embodies the ease that we should grant each other through the comfort of their harmonious mix.

Perky acoustic guitar and samples of candid laughter sprinkle the indie-pop anthem with personal moments and shed a light on the chemistry between the band members. It is evident that this trio know how to play off of each other in the best way, without even thinking about it for a moment. Earnestness is the backbone of Middle Kids’ character and it shows. ‘R U 4 Me?’ is a communal experience and something that should be held so close at this time. Middle Kids are undeniably the escape the world deserves right now.

‘R U 4 Me?’ is out now via Lucky Number Records. Listen on Spotify.

Jillian Goyeau
@jillybxxn

Photo Credit: Daphne Nguyen

Track Of The Day: Sophomore – ‘Social Distancing’

Grunge may not traditionally be the most uplifting genre, at least not in its earliest ’90s incarnation. But pandemic-related times call for pandemic-related responses. And where else could they come from but the epicentre of Australian cool, Melbourne, and one of its more recently emerging groups: Sophomore. A four-piece that combines members of Valentiine and Get in Her Ears faves Mannequin Death Squad, ‘Social Distancing’ is only the band’s second single, following debut ‘Sally’ and a raft of shows across their home country, which have earned them heaps of praise from the local press.

‘Social Distancing’, as the name would suggest, was written at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic which perhaps belies its, ultimately, optimistic message. Making perfect use of lead guitarist Vanessa and rhythm guitarist Elly’s Celebrity Skin-era Hole-style harmonies, its lyrics talk of “the lonely getting lonelier” and the “penniless stay[ing] poor”, amidst “lies in the news” but promise that, as a people, “we will rise again”. 

Linking the unrelenting pressure of media panic to a condition that leaves its victims unable to breath is a neat touch, as the song encourages its listener to pull back from misinformation and, by extension, consider others. To this end, its video also serves as a smart combination of Max Fleischer-style cartoons, public information movies about disease – both in black and white – and DIY shots of friends, family and fans of the band in colour, harking back to what the band refer to as “simpler times”.

Although it’s said to be a curse to live in “interesting times”, Sophomore are certainly making the best of it, and by repurposing the Pixies quiet-loud-quiet template, they’ve refashioned an old genre into something relevant. For so many bands, being stuck inside and unable to gig could be damaging, but, judging by their socials, the Aussies seem to be just as committed to getting their sound out as ever through online gigs and interviews. And, on the strength of the two singles to date, a post-pandemic world keen to hear some new music could be just the right springboard for the effervescent foursome. Don’t keep your distance from this band.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego