Australia has produced some of our favourite artists over recent years, from the modern Brit-pop of DMAs to the winding, witty lyricism of Courtney Barnett. There just seems to be something in the air that produces bands with the perfect blend of down to earth charm and gritty passion for their art. Here is our run down of some of the nation’s best new talents that you need to look out for.
One of the most exciting new artists from the region has to be the bold and fantastically dark Singer-songwriter Stevie Jean. She may be the prime example of how Aussie acts often find it hard to crack the UK market as she is a performer at heart. The passion and personal impact of the lyrics swell over you and make a deep connection when listening to her recent debut album, however her power really shines when seeing her live! She has become renowned for her on stage swagger that only amplifies the winding depth of the stories in her music.
Her first record arrived in May and is aptly named ‘The Dark’. It is comparable to some of the leading modern female musical icons such as Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish in the fact that she is not afraid to explore the twisted side of the mind, shown in the lyrics “darkness kind of turns you on” and “sometimes I leave my new girl on seen, just to psych her out – make sure she wants me.” in the album’s opening track ‘Send Me Home’. Yet there are not many who compliment this lyricism with such menacing Rock orientated grooves.
‘Bored’ is an album highlight led by its gravelly synth/guitar lines that create a fierce base to the track that grows with every chorus. It is probably the record’s most catchy number, dotted throughout with tasty morsels of guitar and vocal flourishes. It is the best blend of her ominous instrumentation and confident vocals delivering pretty unforgiving lyrics. So, use this track as a sampler before delving into the strange rock atmospheres of her impressive debut.
Tin Pot Clay Man
Have you ever played Skate 3? If not then where were you throughout the 2010’s? If you have then just imagine all your favourite moments from its legendary soundtrack and roll them into one free-spirited project. That is probably the best way to describe Tin Pot Clay Man, Aka Gaurav Jaswal.
Gaurav emerged with his first single, ‘Hostile Reset’ in July last year and it was one hell of a debut. With the perpetual motion of the surfer drum sound and a ‘Disorder’ esc guitar line, the atmosphere places you straight into a warm Summer evening, skating the long winding coastal roads of America. His subsequent releases ‘Sleepover News’ and ‘Social Parody’ have followed in the same vain. His vocals are uplifting and ooze with an infectious sense of freedom and optimism similar to those of The Vaccines frontman Justin Hayward-Young. However, his music also carries a much more lively intensity than the soft coastal tones of other Surf Rockers such as The Drums or fellow Aussies Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. His chorus’s are anthemic; designed to be chanted back in a packed out festival tent with its huge, dance-inducing energy! By far one of our favourite new Aussie exports!
Confidence Man are a band that should already be on your radar but if they aren’t then lucky you because you get to discover them right now. The brother/sister duo blew us away with their debut album ‘Confident Music for Confident People’. The pair are joint vocalists but ‘Janet Planet’ often takes the lead with her arrogant vocal persona. Musically they blur the lines between Dance and Indie Pop due to the fact they have both a DJ and a full-kit drummer in their ranks even though they tend to lurk in the dark corners of the stage with their beekeeper esc disguises. The album was fizzing with energy. Sassy monologues usually fill the verses while gliding Dance melodies that are reminiscent of ‘Praise You’ make up their anthemic chorus’.
They look set to return with their follow up album in 2022 after the release of their new single ‘Holiday’ at the end of last year. The track dives in the deep end of Dance euphoria. The ‘Born Slippy’ esc opening synths are met my a pulsating beat that stays strong throughout the track. The duo show the very best of their vocal ability with ‘Janet Planet’ taking on the slick melodic flow while ‘Sugar Bones’ takes on the more Madchester vibes with some fantastic lyrics.
“One life good as it gets, I’ll take it
Worldwide, what do you live for, baby?
Best weed back on the block, I’ll take it
All need somethin’ to live for, baby
When I was a child, I was so naked”
The track is about a holiday being a state of mind and he music certainly captures this joyous freedom. If their next album follows in the footsteps of this single then their Spring UK tour is going to be one you can’t miss!
Inspired by early Rock and Roll, Singer/Songwriter Paul Allen writes gritty Garage Rock infused with that slightly laid back Aussie drawl. His last ‘Help Me Out’ release took a more introspective feel with long synth textures building a very cinematic backing. The vocals were much more thoughtful and poignant evoking sounds of the cynical electronic Indie of Spector.
However, his nest single ‘Complacency’ arrives on February 25th and sees him return to the Roxette mantra “Don’t bore us, Get to the chorus!” that he always keeps in mind. The track is inspired by the deep Grungey tone and angsty attitude of Machine Gun Kelly’s ‘Papercuts’ and it certainly does carry a similarly gravelly guitar line. However, it dusts off any emo twangs and enters a distinctively retro groove with more subtly uplifting Surf vibes. It is the perfect soundtrack to care free nights drinking with your closest mates.
After a two-year brake from music, solo Indie-rock performer Anna Smyrk is back and at her best! Her new single ‘Human Condition’ is exactly what we love about the Australian scene. Although the country has a great range of talent in contrasting genres, from the boisterous Electro-Pop of Confidence Man to the crazy Psych-Rock of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, they seem to have an incredibly high number of fierce solo female performers making fun yet powerful Indie-rock, Ruby Fields, Ali Barter, Alex Lahey and Courtney Barnett to name a few.
Anna is yet another example. The new single is hugely uplifting and lyrically rich, filled with what she herself describes as “words for nerds”. She retains her thick Aussie accent which we love as it gives the track a more personal charm. From the very first chorus you can’t help but have your mood lifted and want to dance around in front of the mirror to her powerful, warming vocals. It is a great advert for what the Australian Indie scene has to offer. We just hope that we don’t have to wait another 2 years for her next single!
With an instantly appealing Nirvana esc guitar line Naked Face explore the depths of the Grunge aesthetic on their latest single ‘If In Doubt’. The Melbourne-based trio emerged in the midst of lock down with their debut release ‘Beach Punk’ and have since been gaining attention for their flirtation with a range of genres. ‘Coming Home’ saw them turn a little melancholic and introspective for the most part as the vocals took centre stage and wound around a contemplative beat.
Their new single however takes a different turn and is by far their most direct single yet. The dark and tempting tone of the riff is matched by the mystery of the lyrics while the drums provide a thick energy with that traditional open hi hat Grunge sound. The vocals have a melancholic angst to them that gives a good swagger and build a tension within the track. There is an appealingly drudgery feel throughout the opening half yet it really comes alive towards the later stages. The vocal back and forth rings around you and the guitar line becomes electrifying as it dives into an expansive solo. Really great energy throughout this track that mirrors 90s Grunge with refreshing authenticity.
Scarily dangerous and furiously tempting best describes the exciting darkness of Electro-punk operator Johnny Hunter. If you read our review of Glaswegian newcomers VLURE, they are perhaps the best comparison. Both Johnny and VLURE seem to be at the forefront of this new wave of Synth influenced Punk and we are loving it! He has just arrived with his new EP ‘Endless Days’ and it is a great sample of what he is all about.
‘The Floor’ is big, its bold, its in your face and its not apologizing for anything. Opening with a growling Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes esc guitar line, the track quickly layers getting more intense and more eye-widening with every element. What comes next may be a little uprising, with the vocals landing more over the top and flamboyant than you would ever have expected from the intro. This wild aggression of his vocal delivery is then matched by a insanely dense chorus sound that is filled with haunting synths and pummelling drums. It is the perfect mosh pit inducer, creating an atmosphere that is completely engulfing and completely irresistible. Meanwhile, ‘Cry Like A Man’ and ‘Life’ dip into a more haunting, primal sound reminiscent of The Cure. A really exciting new act that just needs to come to the UK!
The vocals of Brisbane born songwriter post-dusk are long and winding. They wrap themselves around the the electro pop bedroom beats. They drift across every track with a gentle melancholic breeze and completely define the aesthetic of the project. She has been known to take long breaks between new music and this remained the case between her last two releases. Nearly a year on from her rolling synth-pop single ‘Last Summer’ that had sounds similar to PIXEY, she has returned with another seasonal track ‘Spring Song’.
The new single takes its time with a slow Funk beat creating a thoughtful rhythm and dreamy guitar tones floating distantly to add texture. The lyrics are blissful and evoke images of swaying carelessly through a spring meadow as the crack of light dance between the grass. Her vocal delivery is as soft and gentle as ever yet it is probably her most uplifting vibe to date. It perfectly matches the spring title of the track and will provide the perfect sonic backdrop as the world begins to thaw out.
Perpetuating the line of comedic yet musically strong Aussie acts are Melbourne’s Rancid Eddie. Artists like The Chats have created a subculture of Australian music that is built on messy Garage Rock that doesn’t take itself seriously, with comedically explicit lyrics built for underground parties and late night sing-alongs. Whether this messy slacker style of music has been welcomed due to the western stereotype of Aussie attitudes or whether it is really a reflection of the Indie scene over there, it has certainly provided a welcome change from a long history of UK culture. It is refreshing to hear a band just clearly mess about knowing they are making fun uplifting music that is meant for playing with your mates rather than trying to create some artistic poignancy and take it all so seriously.
Rancid Eddie capture this refreshing care free attitude and crude comical lyricism in their new single ‘Dry’. Yet, they are popular in the same fashion as The Chats because they are not relying on their ear pricking lyrics as a gimmick, the music itself is deserving of the attention regardless. They begin the track with a loose acoustic as if its just one guy messing about on his guitar in his room. However, this vibe gradually builds bringing in a very authentic natural drum sound and backing vocals from the rest of the band that create an audible camaraderie, providing that charming band rehearsal atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re right there with them just playing along. The first couple of minutes are bright and catchy, although it is undoubtedly the final minute or so that has shot this song to Tik Tok fame. The line “sex doesn’t feel very nice no more” is chanted along to a crowd rousing bass drum and the energy builds every single time it comes back around. By the end you feel like you are at a huge beach gathering with friends and strangers alike just enjoying the freedom and positive spirit of their music. It is a song build for good vibes only and we just hope people can finally get back out and experience this track in the way it needs to be heard.
T Truman, the Australian born keyboardist of The Vaccines embarked on his own solo career in the midst of COVID in 2020. As you would expect, his sound leans on the most stripped back acoustic warmth of big piano chords and vocal lines yet this is not merely the case of one man and his keyboard. His instrumentation flows very freely with a retro mannerism meeting modern production in a similar style to Declan Mckenna. Early singles ‘Holiday’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ provided passionate vocal punches and appropriately well textured keyboard backing.
Understandably he took a small break as The Vaccines released their incredible 5th album ‘Back In Love City’ at the back end of last year. Since then he has returned with a string of singles, the most recent of which is ‘Entertainer’. Again, the freedom of the track is striking. It doesn’t feel stuck in one groove which may be a product of it being written by a keyboardist. Initially, it evokes the grand storytelling atmosphere of songwriting greats such as Paul McCartney and Elton John yet as it develops, subtle electro elements pepper the sound and more modern percussion joins the mix to create a really fresh vibe. The track grows chorus by chorus and finds a perfect blend between lyrical introspection, expressive piano-based storytelling and modern Indie Rock grooves.
Syndey’s Garage-rock trio The Vitriots describe their latest single ‘Taxi’ as a “soundtrack to a night out” and well, it’s pretty hard to argue. Short and fast Indie-rock being spat from the mouths of 3 young Aussies. Lyrics from the heart based on the truths of their day to day life which makes the music as relatable as it is fun.
As with many Australian acts, they capture the retro sound of the 00s in the UK, with the youthful unclean energy of The Kooks and Jamie T blended with the inbetweeners esc tales of young mates trying to hit the town that kick started the success of bands like The Pigeon Detectives and Arctic Monkeys. Packed with a moshpit liveliness, ‘Taxi’ is the perfect track to get your nights started as soon as lockdown is over!
We finish with an artist who a lot of you may be aware of and is one of Australia’s most consistent and well respected artists, Dope Lemon. He has won over Aussie hearts since his debut record in 2016 with his rolling guitar lines and laid back, country influenced vocal delivery similar to Kurt Vile. In fact their are a lot of similarities to between Dope Lemon and Vile’s music. They both carry this effortlessly charismatic twang to every element of the music that makes you fall more in love with the general vibe of their sound than the individual songs themselves. There is something so calming and satisfying about their chilled out approach and the result of this is that you could really listen to them play any song in their style and enjoy it!
However, the latest Dope Lemon album ‘Rose Pink Cadillac’ stands out amongst his discography with its distinct summer groove. It offers a bit more energy and a more upbeat swing whilst still delivering that noticeable charm. The instrumentation is nothing but happy with subtle funky guitar elements and a sprinkling of bongos and other sounds that suit the island paradise this record transports you to. It really is the perfect summer chill out sound to add to your playlists!