For all the great albums that grab the music media spotlight, there’s many more that slip by the warm glow of recognition.

It’s not always for lack of quality either, given the huge array of ways we listen to music these days, both online and off, as well as the speed at which we all consume, it’s little wonder that many great releases slip through the cracks. So much music, so little time.

But here’s the chance to take a little pause for breath and reflect at the month that’s been, picking over the best releases that may have missed the love they deserve when first landing. Maybe they were overshadowed by a major label blockbuster, unnecessarily overlooked or misunderstood, perhaps suffered a case of bad timing.

No matter the reason for them slipping under the radar, we’ve switched on our musical sonar to help you discover and explore a raft of releases you may well have missed the first time round.

The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)

The War On Drugs are one of the those bands that are emphatically adored by those who dig them, yet remain greatly unknown by many outside that adoring circle (at least more so in Australia).

Lost In The Dream is the third record dropped by the Philadelphian-based outfit that was met with critical praise on a universal scale, tipping the March release as an early front-runner for many publication’s coveted ‘Record Of The Year’ award.

The record witnesses the band’s singer and songwriter Adam Granduciel in a forlorn state. The frontman split from his then-girlfriend at the commencement of writing the album and fought his recording battle for three painstaking years. Such torment transcends into the music, painting a melancholy aesthetic over its entire 60-minute run.

We almost implore you to check out Lost In The Dream and join Granduciel on his wandering stream of textured neo-psychedelica consciousnesses. As a taste-tester, dig the first single, ‘Red Eyes’, you will not be disappointed. (Joseph Harris)

Le1f – Hey (Terrible Records)

As one of those modern breed of hip hop stars that tends to set the mixtape scene aflame before making their crossover to a wider (albeit cult) audience, there’s every excuse for you not having cottoned on to Le1f, the rap-de-plume of New York’s Khalif Diouf.

That is unless you were hypnotised by his performance at Meredith Music Festival last year as he gyrated his way between his subwoofer rattling set at the late witching hour. Hey, Le1f’s first release as part of a record deal with Terrible Records and XL Recordings, is a five-track EP that proves there’s as much charisma in his tunes as his hip-swivelling performances.

Of all the monosyllabic titles (eg. ‘Sup’, ‘Buzz’, ‘Hey’) the curdling cat-call rhymes in lead track ‘Boom’ provide the textbook introduction to Le1f’s seductive yet sinister sound world. Plus there’s a remastered version of breakout tune ‘Wut’ that brings all its dandy-rapping, horn-parping, bass throbbing glory into high- definition. (Al Newstead)

Lowlakes – Iceberg Nerves (Kunsthaus)

Lowlakes Iceberg Nerves
The debut release from Melbourne’s Lowlakes is a proud testament to the bourgeoning talent emitting from the city.

The four-piece’s first full-length production emits a bone-chilling vapour of shoegaze that laces the entirety of the record. The unique vocal prowess that frontman Tom Snowdon wields is something of a phenomena that will raise every last hair on your body, that is, if the misty-blue dream-pop sonic saturation doesn’t do it fist.

Having already gained a cult following in the likes of Germany and The Netherlands (where the band are currently touring for the second time in their short career) Lowlakes, now championed by their debut Iceberg Nerves, are growing exponentially.

The LP exemplifies that the group are well rehearsed in the art of Talk Talk, Slowdive ,and Radiohead – ethereal melancholy that somehow instills the most euphoric of sentiments.

Heed our creed, don’t ignore Iceberg Nerves, Lowlakes are the real deal, and by the looks of things – Europe may steal them from us for good! (JH)

Teeth & Tongue – Grids (Remote Control)

Here’s the skinny, Teeth & Tongue is essentially the work of Melbourne-via-NZ songsmith Jess Cornelius. And Grids should be her one-way ticket out of the ‘criminally underrated’ musical ghetto.

It’s got the smarts and the sounds for the casual listener to appreciate, but not once does its full-blown tilt at accessibility compromise on the elements that have made Cornelius the critical darlings’ hopeful in recent years. The 11 cuts here play to her greatest strengths; namely her distinctive vocals (think the brash lovechild of Kate Bush and PJ Harvey), ear-grabbing sound tics (in both gothic and glossy flavours), and unique structures.

It’s – nearly – all there in album teaser ‘Good Man’, but there’s more daring stuff if you delve deeper, such as the percussion and organ duet with Laura Jean on ‘Newborn’ and the show-stopping punch of ‘I Feel Good’. It may take a few repeated listens for the hooks to deepen their way into your ears, but once they do, you’ll soon find plenty about Teeth & Tongue to champion. (AN)

Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love (POD)

The hardest hitting crew on New York City’s Captured Tracks label is noise-punk purists Perfect Pussy, who have just released their debut record Say Yes To Love. 

Each searing cut on the record explodes at a gun-shot pace, typically spinning no longer than two-minutes, and that’s all the quintet need to convey their message and sound.

Frontwoman Meredith Graves has called the collection of tracks “happy revelations about incendiary events.” An apt description for the way she straight-up spits her lyrics in an unapologetically blunt fashion.

Sonically, it’s virtually impossible to keep your hands, feet, or head still as the five-piece beat the shit out of their instruments (and your sensibilities). Elements of noise rock bleed through the record, mixing perfectly with the brazen punk-paced percussion.

Admittedly, you might not have ‘missed’ Say Yes To Love, as it hasn’t been formally released in Australia yet, however has been available online internationally since March. To ensure our readers don’t miss out on the buzz, fuzz and all-out noise-rock-punk ferocity this Syracuse gang are spilling, we deem Say Yes To Love a record that no punk fan should miss out. Say Yes To Perfect Pussy. (JH)

Holy Holy – The Pacific(Wonderlick/Sony)

Some bands rely on just the one talented songwriter to get the job done, but as their double-barrelled name suggests, Holy Holy benefit from two. Specifically, it’s the musical project of Brisbanite Timothy Carroll and Melburnian Oscar Dawson, and on their four-track debut release, The Pacific, you can hear their gluttony of ideas churning away, not least in the splendid dual guitar lines.

‘House Of Cards’ has the high-spirited harmonies and six-string lines of peak Fleetwood Mac, with an added country twang. ‘Impossible Like You’ weaves its axe-work in a more textured but no less splendid way that’d make Steely Dan proud. The entire EP is delivered in an impressively polished wash of production, which doesn’t undercut the natural instrumental and singing abilities of the band.

All that, and Holy Holy have a rather cracking live show to boot (ask anyone who’s caught them on tour or at Queenscliff Music Fetival last year)! (AN)

Luca Brasi – By A Thread (Poison City Records)

The team at Poison City Records have a penchant for placing distinctively Aussie sounding acts onto their revered label. Having signed Luca Brasi, the Tasmanian-bred punk outfit have released their sophomore LP, and trust us, this is a local staple of 2014 that you need to have.

Phrased perfectly by a Tone Deaf reviewer, “there’s a real determination and charm to the tempo of the individual tracks, with each song compacting its own tale built on love, love lost, relationships, and late nights spent with mates.”

Despite By A Thread featuring 11 tracks that teeter between the two-to-three minute mark, the record can’t be so easily dismissed ‘just another punk record’. Lead vocalist Tyler Richardson’s controlled rasp is rather endearing whilst the band’s sound itself is tight and doesn’t submit to the familiar ‘bash’n’crash’ raucous punk stereotype.

Hit track ‘Borders and Stalemates’ is a wise starting-point in checking out By A Thread. The track pertains to a more indie-punk vibe that features soaring guitar riffs that instil a warm n’ fuzzy sentiment. If you’re looking to support a local band, definitely do not overlook this record, it’s a very positive tick for this year’s top Tassie talent. (JH)

Tim Shiel – Duet Duets (Independent)

You might better know Melbourne musician and producer Tim Shiel by any number of his many musical curiosities. Whether its under his electronic composer alias Faux Pas, or as part of Gotye’s live band, or that one time his #Oscars2014 selfie satire trended like crazy on twitter.

In any guise, he’s well worth your time and Shiel’s latest release further proves his cosmopolitan musical approach. Duet Duets is actually nine separate re-interpretations by Melbourne artists of Shiel’s soundtrack for the top-rated iPhone game Duet. It’s all homegrown talent featured on the roster as well, including fellow Melbourne sound boffins like pianist Luke Howard, folktronica project Clue To Kalo and a beautifully metronomic reworking from Lower Spectrum.

If you’re the kind of risk-adverse listener who’s slightly turned off by the idea of a remixed videogame score, know two things: one, the sophistication of Duet Duets is a prime example of just how far soundtracks have come since you last dusted off Space Invaders, and two, its available for streaming and ‘name your price’ download at Bandcamp. All in all, this is a lovingly inventive score that’s as suitable for critically acclaimed maze puzzles as it is a colourful backdrop to your internet surfing. (AN)

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