The New Releases Show

Chris Cobcroft


3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

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Broadcast across Australia on the Community Radio Network, our nation-wide team do in-depth reviews of new, underground and most often Australian music. Click on the track listings below to read full reviews. Find more of our opinions on our Facebook and the Zedsite.


Chris Cobcroft.


Blair Martin, Hillfolk, Fiona Priddey, Matt Thrower,  Andrew Bartlett, Andy Paine, Matthew Lynch, Kieran Ruffles, Jon Cloumassis, Jack McDonnell, Jack Jones, Boddhi Farmer, Aleisha McLaren, Dominique Furphy, James Chadwick, Judy Jetson, Sean Tayler, Alison Paris and Tristan Birrell.

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25 November, 2022

On this week’s episode we’ve got Wildfire Manwurrk bringing the sounds of Arnhem Land, which sounds suspiciously like the sounds of ‘80s metal; and speaking of metal, how many different types can you be at once, we check in with Chrome Ghost to find out; Ninajirachi takes us into her confidence and opens a vista on a whole lot of electronic ideas with her debut mixtape; and after long absence and tragedy both, we return to the scene of the Heat Beat, it’s delightfully mind-melting to have the first new EP in ages from No Zu.

Wildfire ManwurrkDon't SmokeAUS

Wildfire Manwurrk: The Next Future (Indie)


3:01 Don't Smoke


Released: 25th November


- The Next Future is the debut six song EP from Wildfire Manwurrk – a band of extended family members who hail from Maningrida in northern Arnhem Land. For those of us who haven’t travelled the corrugated and often flooded roads to Maningrida - which let’s face it, is most of us - listening to The Next Future would suggest it is a place yet to emerge from the 1980’s; where leather jackets, mullets, chunky power chords and wailing guitar solos rule the airwaves. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but it certainly is great to hear some music from these remote corners of Australia’s geography and culture make its way into the mainstream.


The Next Future is sung mostly in Wildfire Manwurrk’s traditional Kune language (mind you, the band’s bio says they each speak five languages!), with a couple of tracks in English. Musically that ratio is reversed, mostly classic rock instrumentation with a splash of didgeridoo (which in Kune is called “morle”) and clapsticks.


Wildfire Manwurrk have said of their lyrics: "We have a story to tell and this is our voice, in our language, one of the oldest languages in this world. That language will help you connect to where you are standing. It will help us come together, where we learn from each other,"


The very catchy opening track Don’t Smoke though is in English, and about protecting culture in a different way – trying to encourage folks to look after the health of themselves and their community by quitting cigarettes. That’s an early sign I guess that the lyrical themes diverge somewhat from the 80’s metal bands that inspire Wildfire Manwurrk musically.


From there most of the lyrics are in Kune, but you can hear the joy infused in the songs no matter the language. You can also hear it in the interviews the band has done in support of the release – amazing tales of swimming with crocodiles and bush mechanic improvisation on the Arnhem Highway.


The existence of those interviews I think says something interesting about the times we are living in. This is a band yet to release their first EP, coming from a remote part of the country far from big city media centres, singing in a language that only a couple of thousand people understand. Yet a quick internet search uncovers seven different indie music sites that have written articles about the band.


Aboriginal bands in the Northern Territory singing in their own language to a classic rock beat is certainly not new, but there is a hunger in Australia right now for culture that has a deeper sense of self, a connection to this land. Wildfire Manwurrk, with their beautifully shot videos depicting both the modern life of township and troopy and the traditional cultural activities out on the rocky country of North Arnhem Land; give us something that so much of our shallow pop culture lacks.


Wildfire Manwurrk then it seems are a band that has arrived right on time. What does The Next Future sound like? The combination of a language tens of thousands of years old and guitar riffs straight out of the 1980’s. Also the sound of a nation seeking our own individual voice and finding space for a vast and fascinating culture that has for too long been pushed into the margins.


- Andy Paine.

BabaganoujWhat Planet Do You Come From?LOCAL

Babaganouj: Jumbo Pets (Coolin' By Sound / Redeye)


4:17 What Planet Do You Come From?


Released: Now


- Oh, hello. It's the first single from what's sure to be the much anticipated full-length return of one of Meanjin/Brisbane's most beloved bands.

Chrome GhostThe Furnace

Chrome Ghost: House Of Falling Ash (Seeing Red)


8:36 The Furnace


Released: Now


- California's Chrome Ghost returns with another powerful offering of highly varied progressive, gothic sludge/doom/post-metal. The band have been known to mix things up with each release, but I think it’s safe to say that House of Falling Ash is the boldest move that they've made to date. Not only have they dramatically altered their sound, but they've also chosen to go down the path of the concept album. Before getting into the music too deeply I think a basic understanding of the core themes at play here. The band describe the album's focus as being:


...about a sort of dreamscape of the unconscious where the pain and secrets of our lives rest locked away in a decrepit home choked in roses and encircled by guard dogs. This pain has nowhere to go and the world (and the house) are crumbling around it and threaten to go down in flames.


These themes and concepts can be felt throughout the album and are perfectly in line with the tone and energy of the album. On that note, let us talk music, or to be more specific, let’s start with vocals. Jake Kilgore is a force of nature on this album, both with his cleans and his gutturals. His voice feels almost angelic at points and carries a huge weight of emotion behind it. His harsh vocals however are absolutely crushing and have a huge amount of power behind them. To call them commanding is an understatement and the fact that they're used sparingly makes them that much more impactful. There's something about his singing on this album that takes me back to how I used to feel about Opeth back when I first discovered them during their extreme metal/prog days. That incredible duality of moving beauty on the one hand and raw power and aggression on the other can be felt here on this album.


Instrument wise I have to give huge props to Jacob Hurst for his drum work on this album. Honestly, he is mesmerising for the entire duration of this release and the variety of different styles he employs is hugely impressive. Some of the rhythmic patterns he employs are almost hypnotic in nature and completely suck you in. At other times he gives the listener a relaxed, atmospheric offering that ties in perfectly to what the strings are doing.


Joe Cooper's bass work on the album is also a thing of beauty and the depth of tone on display is just awesome. This is some THICK and chunky bass, and it rumbles its way right through the album adding a real heaviness to the mix. When paired with Jake’s highly varied guitar work and his impressively textured synth it gives the album a really well developed and balanced sound. The more post-metal elements on the album are some of my favourites too and we have the string instruments to thank for these stunning segments. They just open up the songs in a way that makes them feel as if they are washing over you or that you are basking in them.


Some of the guest artists' contributions to the album go a long way to helping develop its overall sound. For me personally the inclusion of Pat Hills' pedal steel, guitar and synth elements really add some additional depth to the release. The same can be said for the guest vocals of Eva Rose and Susie Mcmullin, who bring some additional vocal variety to the release and add some great dramatic effect. We also have guest guitar from Yseulde which brings some additional complexity to the mix.


This is one of those albums where it's actually pretty hard to pick a favourite song. I say that because each track has something unique to offer and given the way that the band take time to expand and develop their tracks, each contains moments that I love. So, I really can't do a favourite track selection for this particular release. I think the ones that I've come back to the most though are Rose In Bloom, Where Black Dogs Dream and House of Falling Ash. Each of these finds such a great balance between heaviness and atmosphere.


Overall, I think that the band's new direction is an impressive one. While I've enjoyed all of their albums, I think that this one is possibly their most ambitious and proves that they can basically do anything that they set their minds to.


- James Sweetlove.

KurushimiThe Cold Light Of The MirrorAUS

Kurushimi: Return III: Death (Art As Catharsis)


5:11 The Cold Light Of The Mirror


Released: Now


- These Sydney avant-garde metallers happily included a five minute single to 'balance' the other twenty-minute slab of jazzy deathmetal on their recent release and we thought the least we could do is play it for you.

NinajirachiThings I Never NuAUS

Ninajirachi: Second Nature (NLV)

3:46 Things I Never Nu


Released: Now


- There is a form of bravery in offering a significant other the age-old format of a “mixtape”, sharing how emotions have influenced the music selection, and the intended recipient’s inspiration for those choices adds a further layer of vulnerability. Will it be accepted? Will it be understood? Will it be mocked, either subtly or openly? Now, take that idea of a mixtape and share it with – anybody, the entire world, if you like. That has a real sense of bravery and Eora/Warrane (Sydney) creative Ninajirachi has taken us into her confidence and asked us to appreciate her first full length release as a mixtape of collaborations, ideas and sonic palates.


Emerging in 2016, Nina Wilson adopted the stage moniker of Ninajirachi while still at high school and created early interest with her 2017 single Pure Luck featuring Freya Staer. Finding a category to place Ninajirachi into is difficult and Second Nature doesn’t simplify things either. It is presented in a standard album format of twelve tracks, however, while most of them flow easily into the next, some are sonically dissonant from each other, so that takes a bit of getting used to.


Ninajirachi’s work uses a variety of sounds, samples and ideas – glitchy soundscapes, looping otherworldly audio and some creative beat structures open Second Nature and at first listen might present too much of a challenge for the casual listener as The Face of This Earth plays with tempo and then cleverly slides into Start Small with a running trap beat and a lyric that warns you not to go too far ahead as you might fall – however Ninajirachi’s gentle anime-esque vocal reassures you that she is “looking out for you” though it does come with a quid pro quo of “You’ve gotta have my back too”.


Things I Never Nu could just about be described as “pretty”, again that almost fragile vocalising over a very sunny and uplifting piano accompaniment which doesn’t drag at all, leaving you slightly breathless, if anything and it’s pretty obvious to know why this has been offered as the single to accompany the album’s release. Collaborators pop up all across the album as well, straight after Things I Never Nu comes Montaigne whose rich tones contrast well with the other tracks that feature that sweet, yet fragile style mentioned earlier. One Long Firework In The Sky rockets along (excuse the pun) with a spray of lyrics that almost sound like a conversation the two collaborators might have had in creating this work. Frankly, Montaigne is one of Australia’s more overlooked and underappreciated vocalists who can add great value to a work – it’s no wonder David Byrne has been pleased to work with her over the last year on a couple of great releases, Always Be You and gravity.


In the middle part of the album things became vary varied – Soma works as a sonic palate cleanser to the trap soundscape of Petroleum and then the heavy banger of X33 (Angel*|) with contributions from Kenta204. As the album moves through the deeply mysterious Tiankeng two more collabs rock up – Hidden Land (featuring Raj Mahal) and Crush Me (featuring Kota Banks), the former has a deep urban vibe, while the latter pushes the boat out a bit further on the nature of vulnerability and acceptance in a musical style wildly different from what’s just come before. The wrap up of the album, Can’t Wake Up and Icebody invert the paradigm once again. Can’t Wake Up could have dropped out of some imagined Scandinavian mash-up of Jenny Hval and Girl in Red by way of Scotland and CHVRCHES. Icebody is an intriguing way to end the album a Skrillex inspired raga breakdown, leaving the listener on a breathless & hyperactive endorphin high.


Ninajirachi saw the title Second Nature as the traditional meaning of the term, something that we do without seeming to think about and coming naturally and easy. While parts of this release might not come naturally and easy to the listener, those wanting to immerse themselves in musical layers from the next generation of Australian creative producers and writers, particularly those who aren’t cisgender white males, will be well rewarded.


- Blair Martin.

Magic City CounterpointFern BellsLOCAL

Magic City Counterpoint: Dialogue (Indie)


4:20 Fern Bells


Released: TBA


- Chris Perren (of Nonsemble) and Madeleine Cocolas (largely known as herself), are offering us a taste of their shared efforts as Magic City Counterpoint. The cut is called Fern Bells and the forthcoming EP, Dialogue, which seems appropriate.

No ZuMind MeltAUS

No Zu: Heat Beat (Chapter)


5:11 Mind Melt


Released: 18th November


- One of Naarm/Melbourne’s most unmistakable outfits returns with their first, properly new music in, what is it, seven years? I can’t speak to all that time but recently things have not been easy for the funky collective, most notably with the sad passing of lead vocalist Daphne Camf in 2021. Heat Beat is a tribute to both Camf, featuring her final recordings with the band and what they’ve done together, its very title is the name of No Zu’s self-styled ‘genre’ of funky, dancey, percussive no-wave. A loving memory, a long desired taste of new material, despite the sad circumstances, it’s hard to say no to new No Zu; bring on the Heat Beat.


The four cuts proper that make up the EP are not a radical departure from the No Zu you know, which, given the passage of the best part of a decade is, possibly, a little surprising? Then again, since early ‘80s New York, who else sounds like No Zu? There aren’t many –!!! maybe?– and outside of New York, round our neck of the woods the outfit has a parti-coloured uniqueness that stands out in a sea of bands.


If the sound hasn’t changed, it was always kinda complex to begin with. No wave with its joyous abandon bricolage, throwing in anything you feel like till the style is almost shapeless, is the only way you can explain that Sonic Youth and No Zu are, nominally, in the same genre. No Zu are, of course, in the boiler room of that higgledy-piggledy festival, still taking their tips from forerunners like Liquid Liquid


In a strange way they high energy, percussive brightness of their sound has an uncanny resemblance to …advertising jingles? No Zu are nothing if not self-aware and they embrace this satirical potential again on the new record. The single, Liquid Love frappes mysticism, romance and fossil fuels? Cooing about “fantasy, mythology, an oil-slick pump burning energy”, everything is enveloped in a haze of arousal and you’re not sure if everyone’s more excited about sweaty bedroom action or watching an oil derrick spurt black gold.


This is made even more explicit on the track Cosmetic BeatLoreal, Maybelline, maybe it’s in your skin / Estee Lauder, Revelon, bribery and blood and bone.” It’s a consumer fever dream which, I think is poisoning us?  “Lip gloss and blush / Blood and bone and bloodshed eyes / And melts the foam, burning tires / Hume Highway conquered our tears and heirs and lingerie / Diesel and dust and iron and rust / Petrol bodies, burning lusts...” On it goes, the fortune 500 sweltering in the Aussie sun, lustily embracing hyper-capitalism and enthusiastically vomiting it all back up in a spoken word torrent of toxicity. If I understand it right, I think the human race may be in trouble. Although, wait, I think knew that. Oh well, at least the knell of doom is danceable now.

Danceable like it always was. I’ve definitely melted my mind to No Zu in just this way before. The song remains the same, Nicholas Oogjes and crew aren’t exactly making great new leaps, they’re happy to dance like nutters and deliver mystical phone-sex rants over the top. Actually I commend that one to you, a happy little surprise: Mind Melt has modal melodies transforming into Rocky Horror Picture Show vocal harmonies with a mystical phone-sex chat to finish things off; it’s hard not to crack a smile. In the end, after absence and sadness both, the romance might be covered in oil stains, but it’s just nice to get it on with No Zu again.


- Chris Cobcroft.

TrichotomyForward MotionLOCAL

Trichotomy: TO VANISH (Earshift)


4:13 Forward Motion


Released: TBA 2023


- Finally, after any number of standalone singles (not that I'm complaining too hard) the first taste of the new album, coming sometime next year from Brisbane / Meanjin's noodly little jazz trio.