“I think I’m off my head again.”

“The Comedown” by Ocean Alley | An Aussie hangover? Sure. Before I head to the inbox – it piled up, again, just when I start the countdown to Christmas break – here’s one that… well, it may work best on Mondays, with the warm glow the opening bars provide, and how it just keeps going up as the song goes on, seemingly lazily but quite deliberately. The band is called Ocean Alley, they’re from Sydney, and they describe themselves as a mix of psychedelia and reggae. Well, all right, I can hear that now that you’ve mentioned it, but the first time I heard “The Comedown” I got something else entirely: a sexy thing. All right. A song about the day after isn’t going to be sexy, at least thematically. Maybe I am oversimplifying this. But I like this. Particularly the bass line. [NB]


“Is this blood on my hands or is it just red wine?”

“I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself” by Alex Lahey | As you may have known (but I shouldn’t assume; nobody reads this thing) my parents were in Australia a couple of weeks back, so I ended up returning to Triple J and listening to a lot of stuff. (That, and ABC Radio Melbourne – naturally, I am still on my awkward-for-a-so-called-music-blogger “I’d rather listen to talk” phase.) This song’s on high rotation, and rightly so, timing-wise: Alex Lahey’s just dropped her debut full-length, I Love You Like A Brother, after a period of hype that does extend beyond her home country. (Also, she’s from Melbourne, too. Everything goes full circle here.) I like the exuberant nature of this song, and how matter-of-factly it is, and how it has this tinge of sweetness despite all that. A perfect little song for the Aussie summer. Or, well, any time, I’d assume. [NB]

“Basta’t kamay mo ang hawak, okay na ako.”

“Okay Na Ako” by Kim Chiu | I heard this song while doing errands, and this was my train of thought. “Is this a cover of ‘Telepono’?” “No, it isn’t. But hey, it’s nice.” “Who sang this?” “Maybe a reality show contestant. It’s simple enough.” That sounds damning, but to me, it isn’t. I just guessed it is from a reality show contestant – you know how ABS-CBN always makes its Pinoy Big Brother breakouts release an album to capitalize on their supposed fame. I was right – but, as it turns out, it’s one of the originals. Catch is, I really don’t like Kim Chiu. I watched her season (the first teen season, as it happens) and always found her terribly insincere, and that never rubbed off me all these years later, no matter what she’s done since. But then, she’s the actress and I’m just, supposedly, a hater with a blog. That’s what they’d say anyway. But regardless, this is a nice song. Simple, heartfelt, no frills. I just wish I didn’t know it was Kim Chiu. [NB]

“Like my lover’s skin, there’s no way in.”

“Universe” by Jess Locke | Perfect timing, this. Jess Locke is from Melbourne, and my parents are in Melbourne, having just attended a wedding. Okay, so it’s sort of perfect timing, as they flew there last week. But that’s me looking for an angle. I did hear this song in the past couple of weeks, as I shifted to Aussie radio (the usual suspects) to immerse myself, not that I need to do it more. But this one’s quite chilled, but not lazy. I get the sense that Jess is fighting for something here, but not as much as she should. And I’ll take that. Here’s more good timing: her new album, also called Universe, drops this Friday. [NB]

“…and now the whole world’s watching you.”

“Everybody Knows” by Kimbra | I knew Kimbra would be staging a return, having gotten wind of her album announcement – Primal Heart drops next year, way too late for my parents to get me a copy while in Melbourne. But then I’ve been busy, so I haven’t really had a chance to listen to first single “Everybody Knows” until this weekend, when the music video dropped. This is the minimal Kimbra I didn’t know I wanted, I first thought, pretty much forgetting how she’s done this sound before – although, of course, this generation’s dance-y flourishes are there. I was entranced until I saw her do that face, that look of glee which I remember so well from the “Come Into My Head” video, and much later, when I watched her live – one of the best concerts I’ve seen, I’ll say, but that’s me being a fan. I missed you, Kimbra. Don’t stay out that long. [NB]