As the seasons change and we start heading into the cooler months, there are two words that start getting thrown around the industry. 1. Splendour in the Grass and 2. BIGSOUND. Both are the biggest events on the Australian music calendar and we will see a lot of buzz around the acts that have been chosen. When it comes to Australian music, there’s a great mix of huge (Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Dean Lewis) and exciting up and coming acts. (Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Ruby Fields, Hatchie). Of course, tickets will be hard to get and with a killer top line, it will surely sell fast this year.
As for BIGSOUND, the September event today announced that artist applications are open and it is going to be great to see how they use the new conference space and which artists and speakers will be chosen for the premiere Australian music conference. Every year I just get blown away by the calibre of artists that are chosen, but I will again try to get my head around them!
Alex Lahey’s path in music has been exciting to watch. It’s hard to believe that the first we heard of her was a little song called Air Mail uploaded to triple j’s Unearthed in August 2015. In under four years, she’s not only released a killer debut EP, an even bigger album, but has toured the country and the world more than once, shared the stage with Paul Kelly and takes it all seemingly in her stride. Am I Doing It Right? touches on that feeling of stopping and reflecting on her journey. Is she making the right decisions? Should she be doing things differently? As long as she keeps making songs like this, a driving pop-punk song that carries on her honest and fun lyrics, then she’s got a long and successful pass ahead of her. Her second albu, The Best Of Luck Club is out Friday the 17th May.
Don’t say that I have nothing to prove
I stay in every cheap hotel room
You may think I’ve got nothing lose
But am I doing it right when I make everyone move?
There’s a feeling of nature, sun and the carefree in everything Homeward Bound makes. Their singles have so far been a complete about-turn for Jimblah, purposely exploring a bold new avenue of hip-hop, different to anything you’ll hear in Australia right now. Along with singer, Goji and her crisp cracker of a voice, the pair have released their 4th track, Float, that will come from their debut album, Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic, out on the 3rd of May. It’s a mix of the old-school, combined with a simple beat and a hook. Such a clever combination that is exciting to hear.
There’s no doubting the writing and lyrical skills of Miss Blanks. She has never held back with her words; biting, explicit, sharp and very, very clever. With latest track, Tommy, we stay on a similar path, but with a more melodic chorus than previously and some kick-arse production from Alice Ivy, it feels like a new direction. Oh, it bops like hell, but I think it makes the artist a little more accessible, which I’m not saying is necessary, especially seeing as though Miss Blanks has supported some huge acts (Channel Tres, Little Simz, Le1f, Nadia Rose), but I love the fact that her music will be noticed and embraced by more people. 2019 will an exciting year.
Look, I have been all about Julia Why? for bloody years now, but with their last couple of releases they are really stepping it up to a new notch. New song, Starman, takes a slightly left turn to the rockier stuff we’ve heard in the past. Reverbed vocals overlay a grungey, but dreamy guitar and I feel like it really explores the sound of an old-school Veruca Salt or The Breeders track. It’s also exciting to see Sarah Fenn (aka Le Pie) featuring in their new promo shots, which seemingly puts her into a more permanent position as the trio’s drummer. Get lost in this new track and don’t worry about finding your way back.
I was either going to go for Hot Chip or Hot Pink in this slot, but how could I resist this pulsing new track from Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird? Starting with the unique syncopation of an organ, Hot Pink is an upbeat exploration in indie-pop-rock that’ll get you dancing along the backdrop of reminiscing on the good memories in your life. The baritone voice of front-man, Lachlan Rose, (OMG, I started thinking of the singer from The Crash Test Dummies on this ), sits atop this driving track that sits in the upbeat camp of their catalogue and will bring a smile to your face. The Melbourne band are working their way around the country (Sydney this Saturday!) before taking off for their first ever UK shows in May.
There are two very excellent albums coming out this Friday and you need to know about them! Jess Ribeiro‘s third album, LOVE HATE, has been a long time in the making – like two years long – so it’s great to finally be hearing it in full. Dylan, the final track to be released before the album drops is seemingly the title track of the album, quoting the letters of the album name hypnotically in the chorus. With the ghostly vocals over a simple strumming guitar with bandmates, Dave Mudie (Courtney Barnett) and Jade Imagine takes an interesting turn in the last part, fading out to a fog of nothingness. Dark, cool and sensitive. It’s an excellent album (fyi, the second album, you’ll find out about next week!)
From between Byron and Brisbane comes four-piece, Moreton. Their new track, Circles, is a melancholic journey of a track, giving the vocal of Georgia Potter the chance to dance over the minor tendencies of the guitar. I love the build up and release of the song and will be keeping track of the group. As winners of the inaugural Carol Lloyd award in 2017, the band have been working on a follow-up to their first EP and their new EP, The Dog Years,
produced by Matthew Neighbour (Matt Corby, Jen Cloher) and Alex Henriksson will be released in July.
Since the apparent downfall of The Smith Street Band, there’s been a gap in the Aussie emo indie-punk scene, but never fear, we’ve got Sly Withers and their new track, Sad Guy perfectly fits the bill! Having just signed to the Dew Process label (Alice Ivy, The Beths, Mallrat, Tkay Maidza), the Perth quartet are about to embark on their biggest tour yet on the back of this track. It’s got a slow sensitive start before the chugging guitar comes in and the story that is the well-coined lyrics from Jono Mata keeps you interested. I think I can feel my emotions welling up and that’s what you want. Digging it.
This is the very first single from a new electro-pop duo, Beachwood. It’s a endearing little bop that introduces us to the slick work of multi-platinum selling producer/writer Jarrad Rogers (whose credits include Charli XCX, Demi Lovato, Lana Del Rey, Lauren Hill + Icona Pop) and Angeline Armstrong, a critically acclaimed Filipina-Kiwi-Australian filmmaker, writer and musician. Miracle is a great start to what could be a beautiful mesh of a-grade electronica and oozy vocals to make you tingle.
Another new artist to taste is No Label Necessary, a hip-hop duo out of Sydney’s underground scene. As it says in their bio, “No Label Necessary has been created as a result from the current state of society and its stereotypes.” Teaming up with Kudzai (who you may remember from Week 34 last year), Like You, is a slick and playful track that’s accompanied by a similarly fun clip. Tapping into a west-coast sound that is huge around the world right now and in the shadow of Nipsey Hussle’s sad death, it’s a poignant time to launch something like this, which feels pretty fresh in a Sydney scene that may not be ‘underground’ for long.
(Spotify playlist updates with the latest week, each week)
(click on album art to view videos of tracks)
(Click through to Spotify profile for all monthly playlists)