The wait is finally over. Julia Stone’s third solo album ‘Sixty Summers’ is out today via BMG!
“I wrote this music over so many years, and through different life experiences and moments. It means a lot to me to finally share with everyone these hidden stories of that time,” Julia says of the album’s release.
The album arrives today, alongside the focus single and record title track, Sixty Summers. Sixty Summers is a tale inspired by Stone’s early twenties. Summers spent with friends on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, attending parties and experiencing the visceral elements of Australian summer — “the smell of salt water and sunscreen and mangoes and dead Christmas trees.” In the throes of youthful wonder, one of Stone’s friends turned to her and asked, “Can you believe we’ve only got sixty summers left?” With its warm, reverb-soaked guitar and bright horn section, Sixty Summers feels like the perfect soundtrack for that time of the year. “This song is about what you do with your sixty summers,” says Stone. “Do we waste it trying to grapple for more money and comfort, or do we live to make each other happy?”
The title track follows the formidable Fire In Me, and We All Have (feat. Matt Berninger)’ – a tender ballad featuring the unmistakable vocals of The National’s frontman. There’s the dreamy, rose-coloured Dance, the ethereal Unreal and, her first single in more than 8 years, Break – an exciting song drenched in dazzling moonlit pop. These tracks join nine others on ‘Sixty Summers’, the scope of which is vast.
Each previous single has been revealed alongside artwork produced by surrealist Spanish-Croatian artist, Filip Custic, whose work explores the impact of digital technologies on our conscience and sense of identity. Each single is accompanied by award-worthy videos — visual feasts and impeccable partners to the oeuvre of music. For the visuals, Stone collaborated closely a slew of creatives and stars, all the while flexing her own acting and dancing muscles throughout the process.
Australian director and one of Julia’s oldest friends and long term collaborators, Jessie Hill, brought Break and Dance to life – the latter featuring stellar performances by Susan Sarrandon and Danny Glover. Directed by Bonnie Moir, Unreal features Australian actor, Damon Herriman (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood). We All Have (feat. Matt Berninger) was directed by twice ARIA-nominated director, Gabriel Gasparinatos (Baker Boy, ONEFOUR) and features Gabriel’s cousin, Jesse Gasparinatos as an Abalone diver from Australia’s southernmost town. Director Rhys Day and producer Coralie Tapper were enlisted for Fire In Me, which features outstanding performances from Australian actor David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Van Helsing, 300: Rise Of An Empire) and Jarrad Seng from Survivor AU season 2.
Her first solo album in eight years, ‘Sixty Summers’ arrives as a powerful rebirth for one of Australia’s most prolific artists. Emerging from the wildernesses of folk and indie-rock, on ‘Sixty Summers’ Stone dives headfirst into the cosmopolitan, hedonistic world of late-night, moonlit pop. The stunning album brings us the grit and glitter of the city, with all its attendant joys, dangers, romances and risks. It is Stone at her truest, brightest self, a revered icon finally sharing her long, secret love affair with this vibrant and complex genre.
Recorded sporadically over five years from 2015 to 2019, ‘Sixty Summers’ was shaped profoundly by Stone’s key collaborators on the album: Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, and Annie Clark, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and producer known as St. Vincent. Bartlett and Clark were the symbiotic pair Stone needed to realise her first pop vision. A wizard of production and songwriting, Bartlett helped coax ‘Sixty Summers’ independent, elemental spirit from Stone, writing and recording over 30 demos with her at his studio in New York. As a thoroughfare for indie rock luminaries, Bartlett’s studio was perfect fertile ground for Stone’s growth. Previous studio visitors, such as Matt Berninger from The National and Bryce Dessner, ended up on the album. “Making this record with Thomas, I felt so free. I can hear it in the music,” says Stone.
Clark, on the other hand, was the incisive yang to Bartlett’s yin. She is a sharp musical polymath who, when presented with the work Bartlett and Stone had made together, expertly fashioned ‘Sixty Summers’ into the album it was meant to be. Clark sang and played guitar on the record in addition to her production work, and it was her revered touch that brought the sparks out of Stone. “Jules is the best,” Clark says of her experience working with Stone. “We were always fond of each other from afar, but after working on this, we became great friends. She’s a brilliant woman — tenacious, perfectionistic, so smart. All fire.”
‘Sixty Summers’ is a world unto itself; a surreal and breathtaking new landscape. It finds Stone claiming every part of herself: fire, fury, love, lust, longing. ‘Sixty Summers’ is an album you can dance to, and one you can lose yourself in completely.
Listen to/Download ‘Sixty Summers’ HERE.
Follow Julia Stone on socials
With thanks to Positive Feedback