It’s been a decent start to the new music year in terms of singles. But there has yet to be a great album that has captured my attention. And, sadly, the list of February releases is looking pretty meager as well. I’ll hope the solid singles keep rolling out until we finally get some long plays that require my attention.

Oh and after a brief warm spell we’re back to winter. The windchill has dipped near zero and there’s a chance for snow on five of the next seven days. No big storms seem likely, but we are slipping into one of those patterns that slowly suck the life out of you by dropping an inch of snow every 36 hours or so.

Combine all that with a couple timely new songs and I thought it was the perfect week for an all Australia/New Zealand playlist. Because it’s summer down there right now. And the songs are pretty good. A couple new ones and several classics to, hopefully, warm your soul a bit.

“Mistake” – Middle Kids. Nothing warmed my week more than this new song by Middle Kids. It’s really good and another sign of how promising this band is. They will (finally) release their debut full-length album in May. The only downside is it is built around the songs from the EP they released about a year ago. And, of course, “Edge of Town,” which came out two years ago. Oh well, as they’ve yet to disappoint I expect all the new songs will be excellent.

“Mainland” – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. I called them the Aussie Parquet Courts last year. This song suggests there’s a lot more to them than just faux-snotty art rock. 

“Avant Gardner” – Courtney Barnett. The current queen of the Down Under indie scene. The line “The paramedic thinks I’m clever cuz I play guitar, I think she’s clever cuz she stops people dying” is one of the best lyrics of the decade. 

“No Taste Bomber” – Salad Boys. Our New Zealanders for the week. I had this terrific 2015 track set to add to a playlist a few weeks back. And then Salad Boys dropped their new album so I paused, meaning to include one of those songs. It’s a good album, but this song is simply undeniable. 

“Roll On” – The Living End. From the heady days just after the turn of the millennium. TLE took the best of the Clash and Rancid, adding some lefty Aussie politics, and cranked it to 11. Here they sing about the righteousness of cause of striking dock workers. Rock and roll! I drove around blasting this a lot in the summer of 2000.

“Blue Sky Mine” – Midnight Oil. The 80s were full of visually compelling lead singers. One of those was Peter Garrett, the bald, 6’4”, merrily dancing frontman for Midnight Oil. (Urban myth held that he was actually 7-feet tall.) Midnight Oil’s lyrics were always deeply political, concerned with the treatment of the Australian Aboriginals, the unfairness of capitalism, and protecting the environment. Garrett famously went on to become a member of parliament and served in two different minister-ships under two different prime ministers. It’s interesting to read his Wikipedia page and see how becoming a part of government caused him problems as he had to reconcile views he held as a private citizen with the desires of the administration he was a part of.