Live-looping, indie-pop phenomenon Phia is set to release her new EP The Woman Who Counted the Stars on 29 September via Labelship (EU) / Independent (AUS).

The five tracks are brimming with layers of glitter and grit, and herald the arrival of a bold new sound for the Melbourne-born singer-songwriter. Pulsing, distorted drums and intergalactic juno synths collide with fuzz guitar and vintage casio keyboards, as Phia and her longtime collaborator Joshua Teicher realise a sonic vision that manages to be both lush, raw, and emotionally affecting. Phia’s effortlessly charismatic, crystal-clear vocal soars.

The subject matter packs a punch, too. “Late last year Björk released a viral Facebook post about the criticism she and other female artists face when their subject matter departs from boyfriends and love songs towards atoms, galaxies or activism. I was enraged and also inspired and the songs just started to come.”

With Björk’s words still fresh in her ears, Phia chanced upon a newspaper article announcing that scientists had discovered 60,000-year-old bacteria alive in vast, sub-terranean Mexican caves. Lead single ‘Oxide’ (released September 1) is penned from the point-of-view of this ancient micro-organism.

The title track is inspired by the life of astronomer Vera Rubin, the scientist who fought adversity in her field and uncovered the first compelling evidence for dark matter.

The Woman Who Counted the Stars is a rapid fire follow up to her debut album The Ocean of Everything, which was recorded in her then-home of Berlin and mixed in New York by Eli Crews (Tune-Yards; Deerhoof; Dear Reader). Double J hailed the album as “bright, catchy as hell pop”, with Dom Alessio (Triple J) declaring it “a bundle of joy”.

Now she offers up what’s next, a sparkling constellation of songs showcasing her powerful lyricism and musicality. Phia is touring her EP through Europe in September/October and Australia in November/December.