Entertainment Music Coronavirus music: From dustbowl songs to alien anthems
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Coronavirus music: From dustbowl songs to alien anthems

coronavirus music
Take an existential trip through these modern marvels. Photo: 4AD
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Rob Hirst is a man of many faces while Grimes is out of this world like a Musk rocket, and Ry Cooder’s 1972 classic is a record for these times.

The Lost and Found

Rob Hirst and Jay O’Shea

The Beatles never broke up. They morphed into Rob Hirst.

The one constant in his work is a ‘Beatlesesque’ touch on the melodies and a willingness to try new sounds and unexpected arrangements.

Best known as Midnight Oil’s drummer, who have two recording projects coming up, Hirst has an insatiable need to make music from blues to German electronic psychedelic rock.

His singing has improved through all this road work; he has a warmth and suppleness to the vocals that’s hard to get past. In fact, the Jimmy Webb-ish Pearl Shell Buttons is among the very best work he has ever done.

The track is featured on this album, recorded and written with long-lost daughter Jay O’Shea. A standout gem amongst 11 mature, captivating modern pop songs.

Driver Reviver

Sean Sennett & Rob Hirst

Maturity isn’t a KPI for Sennett and Hirst who have been banging away with versions of garage rock for a few years now.

Their latest missive is along the same lines – Clash inspired guitar parts and that doomy Midnight Oil syncopation.

It’s like being on a beach and the tide has gone out and you suspect a gathering tsunami. The arrangements are raga like simple, perfect for the open road to Wolf Creek.

Miss Anthropocene

Grimes

Maybe if you were going out with Elon Musk you’d whinge too.

Claire Boucher is one of a pack of women artists who brag of their misery in very high voices while playing around with keyboards, hip hop and whatever else comes to hand.

More pop than previous two works, Grimes is worried about climate collapse (who isn’t?) and some existential issues I didn’t quite catch.

The single Delete Forever is very catchy and the album is a grower.

Into the Purple Valley

Ry Cooder

In 1972, Ry Cooder assembled folk and R&B songs from the Depression such as How Can You Keep On Moving (Unless You Migrate Too).

One of the greatest albums of that era, dust it off and work on your repertoire for the 2020 Depression. Today’s craft beer boho is tomorrow’s hobo.

Toby Creswell is a music journalist and pop-culture writer, as well as a former editor of Rolling Stone (Australia) and founding editor of Juice.