Following a national tour, a CMC New Artist nomination, and numerous festival performances, Melody Moko returns with her much anticipated second album, Two Kids and a Radio – out today.
Continuing with her unique take on the Americana sound, the New South Wales’ musician exhibits just how masterfully she is able to draw emotion from her songwriting. Further, Moko showcases a sense of refined maturity on this collection of alt-country tracks. With Two Kids and a Radio a product of her life on the road, as a mother, a woman and, particularly a woman in the music industry.
Producing richly detailed songs, Melody’s voice carries with it a great sense of emotional connectivity interwoven with the gorgeous sonic texture. Two Kids and A Radio is her most realised and honest work to date. To celebrate the album’s release Moko has provided us with an exclusive track-by-track run through of her new album. Settle in, give the album a spin and read on as Melody unpacks each of the album’s twelve tracks.
“Last Cigarette” compares the grip of nicotine to a troubled relationship, co-written with Catherine Britt. It was the last track written for the album, but hit with such force in the studio, with producer Neilson Hubbard suggesting it was “The best song Melody has ever written” that it was determined early on that it would be the leading track and first single for the record. The interwoven sounds of husband and co-producer, Michael Muchow’s iconic guitar alongside East Nashville’s Juan Solorzano’s slide and tender approach to his instrumentation represent the sonic picture that follows through on the whole record.
“Better Than This”
“Better Than This” explores a conversation around mental health amongst working mothers. It explores the conflicted feeling that mothers feel, and the desire and expectation to be the “best” at everything they do, but feeling they fall short. This track has my favourite guitar part of the entire album from my husband Michael Muchow, introducing the album as a real “guitar centered” album.
“Never Get High”
With a New Orleans second line inspired vibe, “Never Get High” is an irreverent innuendo filled track that compares the pull of illicit substances to sexual desire. With a definite Margo Price influence, “Never Get High” is the “I touch myself” anthem of the record.
As a musician and a mother, the question of “When will you get a real job?” is responded to within this track. I found, as a mum, and as a woman, I was always being asked by all the other mums, what my REAL job was, I wrote this song as a response to everyone who ever asked me that. Neilson Hubbard, Co-producer and drummer on the record, shines with a solid and rhythmic approach on this track.
This song was the biggest challenge for me in the studio, I heard it one way, really up and galloping and punchy, but Neilson heard it another way entirely, stripped back, one voice, rip your heart out like Tom Waits style. This song was a turning point for me in the recording process. It taught me that sometimes the message is best left to speak for itself, in its most tender, open, and vulnerable way, minus the frills and over production that crowd what needs to be said.
“Benjamin” is a song for past lovers, the ones we forgive but don’t forget. The ones that impact on our lives in a resolute way and make us who we are.
“Tornado” showcases what made me approach Neilson Hubbard as a producer. His loose but grounded rhythmic approach, so iconic in his other production credits (Kim Richey, Caroline Spence, Matthew Ryan) and honest and spacious production really shines on this track that was written as a message to one of my past lovers new partners!
“Easy Way To Die”
The hardest song for me to write on the album. “Easy Way To Die”, almost didn’t make it on to the album. The song, written about my father’s wayward approach in my upbringing, is uncomfortable, raw and hard hitting. Venturing into indie rock territory, the production brings a harder edge to the record.
“Like Hank Would”
Inspired by a tour in the US, and a visit to The Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, “Like Hank Would”, is the country song on the album, the revenge song that brings all the elements of country music together in one track. Fats Kaplin’s pedal steel track shining as a standout sonic moment on the record.
I wrote this track with a young songwriter at the Academy of Country Music where I work as a Mentor. I never would have imagined we would have a track that ended up on the record. But when she walked into the write and told me she loved Linda Rondstadt, I knew we’d get something good. The end product is one of the most tender tracks on the record.
This is the track about what my life has been like since releasing my first record, becoming a mum, and touring almost non stop. It’s also a bit of a comment on equality in the music industry!
“Woman So Mean”
Written with one of my best mates, Natalie Henry, this is a searing and vulnerable account about reflecting on a relationship and the way you treat your partner. This also has a really great vocal bridge that we created in the studio; that is one of my favourite parts of the record.