When I was a child, music was always playing in the background - ever present like the gratitude of electricity, a bed to sleep in, and the comforts of a stable home. The old car played FM and cassette tapes continuously from ignition to parking. The living room spun records and weekend countdowns on the radio. After school hours saw the garage blaring countless songs echoing from a tiny sound system through the backyard until dinner time. The exposure forged a sense that music was a normal and essential part of daily life. It took me years to understand why I could remember lyrics, artists and albums better than subjects in school, but the exposure captured a love of family time and countless songs that forever hold special moments and memories. With Spotify now launching in Indonesia, there has never been a better time to put your own soundtracks into your family life. So make an effort and press play.
Gwen Stefani - This Is What Truth Feels Like
Interscope - Pop
Gwen Stefani is the heir apparent to the uber cool soccer rock mom. For three decades she has traversed celebrity and credibility in music as both a front woman and solo artist, while juggling worlds of film, fashion and technology. On her first solo album in ten years and in the midst of a very public family life in the tabloids, she crosses a lot of ground in a few choice tracks. While the album feels rushed, her appeal sustains in her charisma and lightness. Through some emotional bloodletting in her lyrics and mood, we are left to respect and understand Gwen is precisely where she needs to be right now.
Weezer - Weezer (The White Album)
Atlantic - Alt-Rock
Weezer are modern music’s good old old boys of alternative rock. Spanning 22 years of proving validation, their quirky nerd humour and homage to all things from Cheap Trick, The Pixies, to Kiss (and all things in between), keeps the band fresh and outward looking to stay forever contemporary. Hook heavy power pop remains the norm with their latest colour-themed-self-titled album, signaling even more youthful fervour and identity. Here, frontman River Cuomo’s reportage of what the kids are doing is part observation and part doco recant of what he see’s the next generation up to. The result is a version of Southern Californian lifestyle where life isn’t always as it seems.
Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered
Top Dawg Entertainment - Hip Hop / Rap
Platinum sales and Grammy nominations reveal critical and commercial success for any artist. Kendrick Lamar is a newly deserved addition to this niche group, while earning the respect and support of those who inspired him. With performances that equally speak to the masses, all indications sustain that Lamar is one to watch. Untitled unmastered is another lyrically, musically, and emotionally rich release. Consisting of eight demos that are numbered and dated, the tracks breathe life into a genre fighting for identity and longevity.
Violent Femmes - We Can Do Anything
PIAs America - Folk-Pop
The Milwaukee trio should be standard fare in any collection of musical education. Since the 1980’s, their cult blend of folk-pop were legitimate documents of growing up - raw and jittery. And despite their limited commercial success, the band still managed to become a required soundtrack to the lives of youth the world over. While the days of anthemic hits such as ‘Kiss Off,’ ‘Blister In The Sun,’ and ‘American Music’ aren’t quite here, there are plenty of wonderful counterpoints of sweet and bruised ballads mixed with catchy numbers that will leave you excited all over again.