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The best (and worst) new singles this week: Empress Of, Molly Burch, and more

New tracks from Empress Of, Molly Burch, and more

Single of the week:

Empress Of : When I’m With Him 

‘When I’m With Him’marks a move into straighter pop songwriting for Empress Of, eschewing the dynamic shifts and sonic provocation of 2015’s Me LP. The springy pop song is so immediately likeable that you could easily miss the tonal intricacies of which it’s composed. However, Lorely Rodriguez still delves into intimate detail, relating her misgivings about a relationship and failure to speak up about it. It’s a song about frailty and confusion presented in high definition colour that sparks a many-sided response.

Monnone Alone : Cut Knuckle

Not to make everything about the lousy government, but Mark Monnone’s new one could well be narrated from the perspective of Malcolm Turnbull. “Golden days, before they disappear,” sings the ex-Lucksmiths bassist through a typically jangly verse. “I’ve seen it all before and it all ends in trouble.” But where Turnbull’s political career seems all but over (he’ll have to go back to being really rich), Monnone Alone are undergoing a reboot. Good timing: reliable indie pop songs are a comfy escape from the ongoing embarrassment in Canberra.

Molly Burch : To The Boys

Molly Burch has a score to settle. Or rather, she has no interest in your petty complaints, so firm is her self-possession. ‘To The Boys’ brings smoky, vintage production to an elegantly delivered and wonderfully crafted bit of country-soul. It’s true you can make stronger, more direct statements by withholding aggression. Burch demonstrates this by adopting a breathy half-whisper to let us know she doesn’t “need to yell to know that [she’s] the boss.”

Deep Sea Arcade : Outlaw 

Anyone would’ve thought Deep Sea Arcade were consumed by self-satisfaction shortly after releasing their 2012 debut Outlands. They had good reason to feel chuffed – it was an impressively complete record that drew on ‘60s Brit-pop and ‘00s indie. But it looks like they’ve finally moved past Outlands to bring us ‘Outlaw’ (yeah, I know). Synths take centre stage on this one and singer Nic Mckenzie retains his effortless melodic acuity. Not a bamboozling comeback, but it’s good to see them again.