with ROD YATES
Self Talk (EMI)
Melbourne based singer Olivia Bartley may have started her career as a folk singer, but she’s blossomed into something far more dynamic. On her debut album under the moniker Olympia, the multi-instrumentalist ostensibly operates in the guitar pop sphere, but with the kind of neck twisting songwriting and production tics that both catch you o guard and, on the likes of “Fishing Knots/blood Vesssels”, reel you in based on supreme command of melody. An assured and fully realised debut.
Holy Ghost (Cooking Vinyl)
If the advance word is to be believed, Modern Baseball’s third album might be the one to push the Philadelphia based indie rockers over the top. Hugely emotional – it deals largely with the death of co-frontman Jacob Ewald’s grandfather and the bipolar diagnosis and near suicide of fellow guitarist/vocalist Brendan Lukens – the band’s Weakerthans-meetsPromise Ring style of rock rushes by in a blur of oen sub-two minute songs that never come close to outstaying their welcome.
Strange Little Birds (Mushroom)
You have to hand it to Garbage – while many acts who’ve been around more than two decades have joined the nostalgia circuit, they continue to push themselves sonically and creatively. The results on their sixth album will not please everyone – it’s easily their most cinematic record to date, and immediate hooks are light on the ground, with Shirley Manson’s vocals pushed to the fore over the band’s moodiest accompaniment to date. Perseverance will, however, be rewarded.