Global Beat Australia: Maple Glider, King Stingray, and Martha Marlow

KCRW’s Global Beat is a new series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. We’re kicking the series off with our friends in Australia by partnering with The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), a uniquely Australian organization designed to support Australian music on public radio.

KCRW DJ Raul Campos hosts along with Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori, for this week’s Aussie artist spotlights on Maple Glider, King Stingray, and Martha Marlow.

Maple Glider - “Swimming

Standout Melbourne indie folk singer-songwriter Maple Glider has just signed with Partisan Records. Photo by Bridgette Winten.

Andrew Khedoori:Maple Glider is the project of Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Tori Zietsch. She has only released a few singles to date, and ‘Swimming’ is the latest one. For someone so new, she really knows how to mainline straight to your heart and inhabit a very special emotional space really quickly. 

All the three songs that she's released so far, she just lets them uncurl slowly, beautifully does it, and then she just takes you over. They've got this kind of hazy atmosphere and a really delicate feel. You’d be forgiven for thinking that they might fall apart midway through the song, but she holds it all together. And she just slides you in the process. 

There's a really big Australian band here called Big Scary, and Tom from that band's been working on this music with Maple Glider on his label, which is called Play It Up. But the big deal for Maple Glider is that she's now been signed by Partisan Records over in the U.S., and they've got some great pedigree, like Cigarettes After Sex, Femi kuti, Laura Marling. So I think you'll probably hear a lot more from Maple Glider really soon.”

King Stingray - “ Get Me Out

King Stingray hail from the Yirrkala community of East Arnhem Land in Australia’s far north. Photo courtesy of the artist.  

King Stingray is a band with an incredible heritage and lineage from East Arnhem Land in the northern territory of Australia. They feature Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu, whose uncle is Dr. Mandawuy Yunupiŋu, the front person for the legendary Yothu Yindi, a band whose amazing music and massive hits did so much to raise awareness of ancient First Nations culture both in Australia and internationally. 

Also joining us is Roy Kellaway, whose father Stu Kellaway was also in Yothu Yindi on bass. So I reckon somewhere the line, there might have been some amazing play dates decades back that led to this band forming and creating something really special in King Stingray. 

Their new single ‘Get Me Out’ is only their second, but it's got such an undeniable energy about it. And a great message about how essential home is to your spirit, the idea that we all live under the same sun no matter where we call home. It’s such a beautiful idea, and it's all delivered with this dreamy surfer vibe. That seems to be such a staple of the region that King Stingray is from.”

Martha Marlow - “ Don’t Want to Grow Up

Martha Marlow hearkens back to a time when singer-songwriters like Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell made big productions from each song and hired jazz and orchestral musicians to do it. Photo by Jonathan Zwartz. 

Martha Marlow is a Sydney-based singer-songwriter with a really grand vision, and a really interesting backstory to her releasing this album, which is coming out in May, called ‘Medicine Man.’ She was handpicked by Randy Newman to cover Randy's song ‘Feels Like Home’ for a Quantas ad. Now, that might not sound like a big deal, but she was pitted against the whole lot of heavy hitters and big voices in Australian music who all recorded their versions of this Randy Newman song for this. But Randy had the final say, and he picked Martha Marlow’s version out of about 10 or 15 versions. And that was kind of her start. 

And now she's made this album. The first single from it is called ‘Don't Want to Grow Up.’ And it really, for me, harks back to the 1970s, when it was far from uncommon to hear pop music that reached for something altogether more symphonic. I'm thinking of artists like Laura Nyro or Nick Drake, maybe even Joni Mitchell—musicians who cast further afield when it came to who would play on their records. I'm talking orchestral musicians and jazz musicians, anyone who could fulfill their vision, and I think that's a little bit more rare these days. 

But Martha Marlowe has gloriously brought back what I guess is a little old fashioned now, but you listen to this single and it's like, who cares? It's just so irresistible. She has incorporated all these great orchestra players from Australia, and jazz musicians, and it's beautifully wide-eyed stuff. I love this song so much, and I can tell you the album is an absolute knockout.”





Raul Campos, Adam Burke