Jess Harlen – Park Yard Slang (2012 LP)


She’s toured worldwide with renowned Australian roots reggae band Blue King Brown (as their former backing singer) but this year Jess Harlen has decided to focus on her own music, cooking up some fresh new tracks.

Park Yard Slang is the second album by the Melbourne based artist which was released on March 30, 2012 through Obese Records. It is evident that there has been a significant shift of events in Harlen’s music since the release of Neon Heartache, 2011 LP (through Plethora Records).

Both albums were produced by renowned award-winning producer, Plutonic Lab. Therefore with the collaboration of two talented musicians bringing out a string of various skills – not to mention Harlen’s sweet and soothing voice, it was anticipated that we’d have sheer quality. And that’s what we got!

The opening and aptly titled track “Get Ready” is an appropriate introductory song to the album. With enticing vocals and the catchy beat it is already ample to draw the listener into further exploration of Park Yard Slang. Title track “Park Yard Slang” is a nice transition maintaining the slow tempo before “Weaving”. Here the tempo slightly builds up leading into jaunty, upbeat rock style track “Let You Down”, the first single released off the album. Reggae, dancehall influenced “Plantation” features Melbourne based reggae artist RuCL.

“Colliding” is a romanticised ‘feel good’ song that seems to depict the themes of patience and beauty. “Reach Home” is an emotive; melancholic yet encouraging and promising song about being courageous, facing present fears and of the past, insecurities and worries in order to overcome them. Harlen switches to the ukulele where the listener is gently lullabied with “Day Dreamer”, followed by another encouraging and humbling track, “Up To Me”.

Then follows “Beautiful Struggle” which illustrate life as full of love, pain, disappointment and change but also encourages the listener to accept it as inevitable as it is – a beautiful struggle. One is encouraged to take the responsibility of moving forward. Finally, one could say that “Silence” is another aptly titled track to top off the album.

Overall, Harlen maintains humility in her songwriting, which are personal reflections that people can relate to. It’s a courageous and great thing to see that there is more experimentation with the incorporation of different instruments and a variety of genres including soul, acoustic, reggae, dancehall and rock influences, producing something fresh and versatile to listen to. Harlen is definitely an artist to look out for this year!

Park Yard Slang is available on iTunes, JB Hi-Fi stores and other good music stores.

Review Score: 9 out of 10


Jess Harlen’s ‘Park Yard Slang’ Tour 2012

For more information visit www.facebook.com/JessHarlenMusic

*As originally appeared on The AU Review.

AUS HIP HOP: Thundamentals ‘FOREVERLUTION’ ALBUM LAUNCH at OAF, (Sat 26th Nov)


26 November @ Oxford Art Factory – Sydney

Tickets at moshtix.com.au


 

Sleek, sweaty, banging and pro; when it comes to their live show, Blue Mnts come Newtown hip hop 3 piece Thundamentals are a band in demand. As a live review by Mess + Noise of their recent performance @ the BIGSOUND music industry conference in Brisbane would attest: “one of the classiest hip-hop acts in Australia right now…tight, charismatic, and bring some monster beats”. AAA Backstage noted of the same performance; “Aussie hip hop’s brightest hope? Quite possibly so”.

As their new album Foreverlution was hitting the shelves 6 weeks ago Thundamentals were prepping for a national run of dates with Big Boi; and before the dust could settle from that trip they’d already struck out again on a 6 week long, 15 date engagement with Drapht. The long and short of all this is that though it’s just over a month and a half since their album release, only now are the band announcing their own ‘Foreverlution Album Launch Tour’.

In stores the last week of July through Obese Records, Foreverlution hit with a bang. Debuting nationally at #3 on the Air Charts, #17 on ARIA Urban Charts and #19 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Album Charts, the response from media and public alike was unanimous. Lead single from the album ‘Paint The Town Red’ was immediately added to triple J rotation (top 20 most played track on triple J – week of release) and was the 9th most downloaded track on Australian radio through AIR IT (week of release). FBI made the album their ‘Feature Album of The Week’ (week prior to release), and on it went.

The Clip

Thundamentals have also just released their clip for 1st single ‘Paint The Town Red’. The concept of the clip was simple, strap on a camera and ‘Paint The Town Red’. The result is a ‘night in the life of’ clip that, in a quite specific case of life imitating art and art imitating life, sees actors and band alike all end up considerably ‘frayed around the edges’ by clip’s end.

“Foreverlution was made for international attention… delivers the goods in every way imaginable” – The Mercury

“Thundamentals talent will not be denied… clearly determined to conquer the top tier of Australian hip hop” – Inpress Magazine
“Aussie Hip Hop’ has always been a fairly loaded label, and it feels too limiting and too narrow, especially when you have an album like this. Foreverlution, Thundamentals’ second offering, is hip hop pure and simple, produced with style and flair, and with both classic and evolutionary sounds in mind” – The Brag

“Foreverlution sounds polished, it sounds natural and it sounds effortless, all the way from the production to the verbal delivery” – Rip It Up

Foreverlution is out now through Obese Records. For more info check out: http://www.obeserecords.com

For All Release Enquiries Please Contact Obese Records

Thunda Cats & What They Get

Built firmly upon a dedicated fan-base, Thundamentals make a point of giving their mailing list fans (Thunda Cats) exclusives wherever possible. The mailing list were offered the first listen of the new album via a private stream and were exclusively invited to the special secret Sydney show that saw the band debut the new material live (the show was at capacity via RSVP within 15 minutes of the offer).

This tour is no different with the mailing list being offered a 48 hour window jump on the general public for the first chance at tickets in selected cities. Said fan tickets will be discounted ($7 off standard door price) and come with a free MP3 download a never before heard remix of crowd favourite from Sleeping On Your Style – ‘Favourite Song’.

Sign up to the mailing list @ http://www.thundamentals.com.au to find out more about this and all ongoing op’s. The offer will only be available from 9am Wednesday Oct 5th – 9am Friday Oct 7th, the finish date of which is when general public tickets go on-sale.