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Live Review: Music To Isolate To: GUM

18 May 2020 | 3:56 pm | Emma Jones

The latest artist in our Music To Isolate To series is GUM, aka Jay Watson. He takes us through some of his favourite iso selects.

With the ongoing and ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a crazy world out there right now, so it’s never been more important to band together. Self-isolation and social distancing are two of the most effective tools we have as a society to help fight COVID-19, but they’re also very difficult to undertake and they have very real, long-lasting consequences on the music and arts industries — some of which we aren’t even aware of yet. Our artists and our industry are already feeling the ripple effect, and things are only going to get worse before they get better.

Because of this, it’s up to us to use what we’ve got at our disposal to best represent and amplify our community and continue to tell artists’ stories. Purple Sneakers has always fiercely represented Australian music and our team are some of the best writers in the country, so we’re going to use our platform to continue doing what we do best: connect our community with the artists we love, and support artists by promoting their incredible music.

Music To Isolate To is an ongoing artist-curated playlist series by Purple Sneakers. We’ve asked some of our favourite artists ever to provide us with the ten songs they’re listening to while in isolation, and provide some commentary for their selections. We’ll be running these for the foreseeable future every Monday and Thursday, and you can follow the Spotify playlist which will be updated on these days right HERE. The idea is to not only promote artists who are curating the playlists, but to also promote those songs that mean a lot to them whether they be longtime classics or fresh new releases.

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The next artist in our Music To Isolate To series is GUM. Just about the release his fifth studio album next month, multi-instrumentalist GUM aka Jay Watson has been described as an eternal student of sound and song. Also part of both Pond and Tame Impala, his solo work has rapidly evolved over the years from the retro-future sounds of 2015's 'Anesthetized Lesson', to more recently with the swirling psychedelia of his newest single, 'Don't Let It Go Out'. Never content with doing the same thing more than once, GUM consistently pushes and defies traditional genre constraints with his music, and due to the casual and curious approach he maintains to making his music, he's always able to tap into a new unknown and explore it to its full extent. His fifth album, the forthcoming Out In The World, is the end result of Watson exploring not only how other people live their lives, but also examining his own "internal desire to analyse mine and improve it."

From some all time classics to some deeper cuts, GUM's #MusicToIsolateTo is as broad and far-reaching as his own back catalogue in terms of its sonic palette. Check it all out below!


Ulla Dulla - Traffik Island

This one had to start it, I’m actually working on a remix for it at the moment but it’s hard to make it as good and vibey as the original!

We Have Come To Bless The House - Severed Heads

I’ve only discovered Severed Heads discography recently and I can’t believe I hadn’t been shown them sooner. Super inspiring in terms of all the sounds and sampling and very ahead of their time.

Falling Off The Edge Of The World - The Easybeats

As big as the Easybeats were I think this record, ‘Vigil’ is underrated. About half the songs on it are great and the production is epic but still primitive. As a Perthian I can relate to falling off the edge of the world.

Wandering Eye - Fabulous Diamonds

We played a few shows back in the early days of Tame Impala and Pond with these guys and they were a rad live band, I’ve recently been listening to this album again, it reminds me of Terry Riley and Suicide and Broadcast and all the good stuff.

Message For The Future - Lost Animal

One of my favourite Australian bands, super classic but also very original sounding. Both of their albums are equal for me, hard to split.

The Orange Tree - Cathie O’Sullivan

I don’t know anything about this artist, but I discovered this song on a compilation album of obscure Oz recordings curated by Mikey Young called ‘Follow The Sun’, highly recommended giving it a listen.

A Quality Of Mercy - RVG

POND toured Australia with RVG last year and I loved listening to them every night, really classic and simple but powerful songwriting and distinctly Australian.

No Time - The Saints

The gnarliest sounding song off a gnarly sounding record. I’m still surprised how few people overseas have heard of this band considering how important this record is to the Rock Music Canon, in my opinion.

Dreamworld - Midnight Oil

The only cassette we had in our family car for a while was ‘Blue Sky Mine’ by Midnight Oil, I was obsessed with it and still know every word. This song isn’t on that album, but I think it’s my favourite Oils song, I find it very evocative of a certain kind of coastal Australia.

This Must Be The End - Billy Green

Off the same comp as The Orange Tree, see Track 6.

Introduction by EMMA JONES

Image: Sam Kristofski