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Want A Nice End To 2020? Check Out This Local Choir Who Cover Your Fave Indie Songs

4 December 2020 | 11:00 am | The Music Team

There's a tonne of new music released every Friday and wading through it to find your next favourite album is an almost impossible task. 'The Music' team get it and we're here to help, bringing you our Album Of The Week each Friday. Here's why Melbourne Indie Voice's 'Live At The Forum' is this week's pick.

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Picking an album of the week is never an easy feat, but it helps a lot when it features brilliant covers from some of Australia's best names in music. 

Melbourne Indie Voices - a choir founded by Melbourne songwriter Phia - have today released their debut album, Live At The Forum.

What started with 20 people in Phia's Fitzroy loungeroom in 2016 has since blossomed into 140 regular members making up Melbourne Indie Voices. Recorded over two nights at the famous Melbourne venue, Live At The Forum features covers of fan-favourite Aussie songs from the likes of Silverchair, Courtney Barnett and Ball Park Music, as well as New Zealand star Lorde.

To celebrate the release, Phia sat down with The Music to go track by track through the album.

The Seed (Aurora) 

The opening track on our album was in fact the finale of our shows at the Forum. Aurora is a Norwegian songwriter and artist and The Seed is an environmental anthem with a powerful message in the chorus quoting a famous Native American saying: ‘When the last tree has fallen, and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money oh no.' I originally arranged this thinking it would be cappella (only voices) but then Josh started playing around in rehearsal with his dirt pedals and power chords and it turned into this epic, grunge-inflected choral number that feels so amazing to sing together.

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Green Garden (Laura Mvula)

I remember hearing Laura Mvula for the first time in a H&M store in Berlin and thinking 'Who is this!?!?' Soaring melodies, interlocking instrumental parts and interesting time signatures. So unique. I enjoyed arranging Green Garden for choir because I got to go deep into the unusual harmonies she’s layered into the track. It’s a challenging but really rewarding track to play.

Full Circle feat. Phia

This is the first single from my upcoming record, that was meant to be released this year but has been pushed to next year because of the pandemic. For the first time I collaborated with my own choir, writing special backing parts which we recorded last year which layer over Josh’s guitar, and me looping my kalimba and other instruments. This song is in part about coming to terms with your inner child, and also about me grappling with whether I wanted to have children or not. I’m now almost nine months pregnant, so I guess the song helped me figure that one out!

Surrender (Ball Park Music)

We love Ball Park Music. It’s always uplifting singing this one, the song turns anxiety on its head and is a celebration of letting go (which isn’t always easy). It’s such a brilliantly written song. This was the first song we ever sung with Melbourne Indie Voices, back when it was run from our front room in Fitzroy so it holds a special place in our hearts!

Pictou Landing feat. Mark Lang

A beautiful song by Victorian songwriter Mark Lang, our collaboration with him was a real highlight of the gig. He wrote this epic environmental call to arms based upon the man made environmental devastation of Nova Scotia, Canada’s Boat Harbour. It’s incredibly moving to sing and we think you can hear that in the recording.

Nameless Faceless (Courtney Barnett)

We’d been wanting to do a Courtney Barnett song for a while but hadn’t found the right one yet. Until we heard Nameless Faceless. Starting out typically laconic and tongue in cheek, it’s a feminist banger that does not pull its punches in the chorus. It’s very cathartic and empowering to sing this one as a group.

Green Light (Lorde)

I love am uplifting break up song! Lorde is an incredible songwriter and performer and Green Light is an uplifting anthem about giving yourself permission to move on, reach for something better, strive for a new horizon, open up after a difficult time - hmmm, seems relevant to 2020!

Society (Ainslie Wills)

Society is a wonderful song by our good mate Ainslie that tackles the heavy weight of expectations placed upon people, in particular women, to conform to a rigid narrow identity. We love picking songs that have powerful opening lines, how amazing is it to hear 80 people sing 'What am I doing with my life?'. Makes your ears prick up and you want to hear more.

Straight Lines (Silverchair)

This song has been a favourite of mine since it was released in 2007. Power pop anthem with Daniel John’s weirdness - that chorus has extra bars of two beats thrown in to give that uniquely unstable feeling. It’s probably as pop as we get but it’s a real feel good track - another upbeat song about downbeat feelings!

Strong Woman feat. Jen Cloher

We love Jen Cloher and her songwriting, activism and community building. She’s an icon of Melbourne! Collaborating with her and having her special guest at our concert was a thrill for everyone involved. The song itself serves as an exploration of gendered identity in Cloher’s childhood in 1980’s Adelaide and a celebration of her unique matriarchal Maori heritage. Having 250 singers belt out “Kia kaha, be proud, stay strong, go on!” with Jen Cloher was a life highlight for a lot of us.

Listen to Live At The Forum in full below!