Melbourne singer-songwriter Jess Locke has emerged from lockdown with a new studio album titled Don’t Ask Yourself Why. The long-player addresses themes of human behaviour, ego and self-reflection while also exploring the black and white nature of what is “right” and the divide in media and truth. Upon the release of the new album this Friday, March 26, Locke shared her inspiration for the record with the artists and songs that influenced her across her career.
“This is kind of a backwards inspiration playlist,” she said. “I would write a song and then it would make me think of an existing song. As I was writing them, the songs kind of told me where they were coming from and where they wanted to go. These are some of the songs that came to mind as I was writing my own.”
Aldous Harding – Zoo Eyes
There is a sense of quiet magic to this song. It’s like a whisper, a secret. Plus I love the arrangement, the flutes and horns are perfect.
Angel Olsen – Forgiven/Forgotten
Grungy, lo-fi with that absolutely penetrating bass. Just a killer rock song with a sense of urgency that I like.
Beck- The Golden Age
Slow and atmospheric but with a clear beat to latch on to. Love the straight forward acoustic/folk vibe combined with a blissful ambience.
Bjork – All Is Full Of Love
A sonic extravaganza. A wonderful example of vocals taking the lead. I really tried to push myself on what I could do with my voice on this record and Bjork is a big inspiration in doing that.
Brightness – Silver Birch
Dirty acoustic guitar. Much attitude. This song always punches me in the guts.
Cat Power – Evolution
The doubled boy/girl vocals are what got me with this song. The guttural male vox under Chan’s already husky voice is perfectly eerie. That combined with the hypnotic piano loop makes for a mesmerising moody tune.
The Drones – To Think That I Once Loved You
I love the minimalism of the verses that bloom into that heavenly chorus choir. There is a sense of letting go created in the singing of the song.
John Lennon – Mother
What a sound. That piano, the steady groove. The combination of vulnerability and self-assuredness of Lennon is something that’s always captured me.
Neutral Milk Hotel – Everything Is
A healthy dose of lo-fi never goes astray. I just always appreciate the sense of time and place, of people making music in a room, that you get from recordings like these.
Leonard Cohen – Please Don’t Pass Me By
Sometimes it’s the most raw and stripped back songs that speak to you the most. This is one of those, beautiful in it’s vulnerability. There is a sense of both desperation and communion in this live track from Leonard. This one is a reminder not to get too lost in production and stick with the moment.
Jess Locke’s Don’t Ask Yourself Why is out Friday, March 26 via Dot Dash Recordings.