Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet
Deradoorian's The Expanding Flower Planet is one of the most subtly layered and carefully crafted albums of this year. Running throughout it are undercurrents of Deradoorian's angelic voice giving the whole album a spiritual and ethereal tone, that is brought to the fore in the instrumentation choices and lyrics.
The Expanding Flower Planet is an ode to life in all its beauty, in things we can see and things that are in our minds. The opening track "A Beautiful Woman" is the perfect example of this; it's a swerving, beguiling pop song whose verses are about drowning and despair, but as it bubbles up gracefully into its chorus the song's salvation comes along in the form of the titular beautiful woman, and her resplendent, saving glory is brought to light through Deradoorian's brilliant multi-tracked harmonies.
Considering her past stints as bassist in some of indie's most creative bands it's unsurprising that many of these songs get down into a deep groove, centred around the bass perfectly attuned to Angel's voice flitting comfortably between all ranges and intertwining with itself. This hypnotic setting is perfect for the addition of Eastern-inflected strings and keyboard melodies, which add to the spiritual nature of the album.
The way that this album is so lushly put together gives it an organic feeling, and this lends itself to Deradoorian's songs about nature and beauty. Within it you can audibly feel Deradoorian growing as a person and a musician and this has resulted in a beguiling gem of an album.
Have I bought this album?: No! Somehow it has slipped by me. I need it because not only is the music great but it's a rad cover too!
Courtney barnett - sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes i just sit
How could anybody dislike Courtney Barnett? In fact, my placing her at a mere 45th on this list is probably the most negative thing I've ever seen in relation to the young Melbournite. She seems to go from strength to strength, having released an excellent double EP last year that catapulted her to indie-stardom she returned this year with her first full length and managed to meet all expectations.
The thing that immediately makes Courtney stand out is obviously her lyrics; smart, funny, descriptive, and identifiable. She captures youthful awkwardness in the swimming pool seduction "Aqua Profunda!" the boring friend in "Debby Downer" and the Friday-night dilly dallying of "Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party," which never fail to brighten the mood. She'll hide a whole series of inner-monologue neuroses unsuspectingly in a super catchy song like "Dead Fox." And then she can produce a song like "Depreston," wherein she describes house-hunting and comes upon the sudden realisation that the previous owner died very recently, turning a mundane day into a poignant and ironic singalong.
Aside from her lyrics, what I really like about Courtney is that she is obviously a student of rock music and is versatile in her use of her guitar. She shows on Sometimes I Sit... that she understands how to use her instrument to greatest effect. On "Pedestrian At Best" she sends it rip-roaring through a frenetic pop punk song, backing up her self-deprecatingly amusing assertions. "Small Poppies" feautires her guitar bobbing along in a bluesy gait to accompany her disinterested singing about the lawn, before revving itself up into an anguished crunch as Barnett delivers a chorus letting out swathes of pent-up frustration. In the excellent "Kim's Caravan" she describes the horrific destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and its wildlife, while her guitar swells and swirls like the ocean its describing, only to build into a chaotic and crashing crescendo, exploding Barnett's rage into a bigger picture, and then quelling itself once more.
The expectation on Courtney at this point is extreme, she's cultivated a fanbase worldwide, seemingly featuring people of all ages, but she manages to remain entirely cool and humble. Having seen Courtney perform just last week, and seeing the assured, swaggering and undeniably rocking way that she carries herself and her instrument around the stage, while remaining down-to-earth in character, I am fairly certain we'll be seeing her around for a few years yet.
Have I bought this album?: Yes, got it from the Marathon Artists stall when I did my piece on the Independent Label Market.