2018 has been the year of the dog. Venus (hysterically) went into retrograde and the world got flipped upside down as music from Oz dominated attention overseas.
Technically, this isn’t really revolutionary. Australia has always been the birthplace of sonic champions. There’s Kylie, ultimate dreamboat and icon to us all (petition for a Kylie agony aunt podcast titled “what would Kylie do”). Then there’s Olivia Newton-John and Sia, as well as the dark lord himself Nick Cave to name a few.
I love Australia. I love the landscape, I love the animals, the man-eating flora, the hippies and THE ACCENT. So naturally, my radar is permanently switched on full Aussie appreciation mode. I’ll take pretty much anything that sounds what I imagine to be summery, effortlessly laidback (at times) and maybe a little bit controversial. Recently, particularly noticeable this year, although we can’t forget the five King Gizzard albums of 2017, Australia has become a coral reef of super-cool new music organically growing and spreading out into the wider world and I genuinely am really into it. It is exciting music that is familiar enough in language but also worlds away and exotic at the same time.
So here’s a compiled list of my favourite Aussie musical greatness I’ve discovered this year, and some others too good to be forgotten.
Phantastic Ferniture (self titled)
Phantastic Ferniture is the project of Julia Jacklin and her friends Elizabeth Hughes, Ryan K Brennan and Tom Stephens. It is over-joyous garage pop brimming with effortlessly hazy summer nostalgia “feel good” tracks.
Amyl & the Sniffers, ‘Big Attraction & Giddy Up’
Super gnarly garage punk group reminiscent of Melbourne’s 70’s ‘Sharpie’ subculture. It’s punky and angsty with great hair all round and authentically Aussie. (Read more here.)
The Babe Rainbow (aus), ‘Double Rainbow’
100% the second greatest thing to ever come out of Australia end of.
The Goon Sax, ‘We’re Not Talking’
Youthful (literally, they’re teens) Brisbane trio. A medley of charmingly conversational vocals and subtly harmonising melodies with surprising emotional depth.
Gabriella Cohen, ‘Pink is the Colour of Unconditional Love’
Recorded partially on the road and on a farm in Victoria. She is a sweetheart and her vocals sound like how you feel in a warm towel post shower; fuzzy and comforting.
An insane mermaid lagoon record of loop pedals and infectiously extravagant riffs. She does what Ed Sheeran and Kt Tunstall try to do but 10x more efficiently – and with a cooler aesthetic.
Carla Dal Forno, ‘Top of the Pops’: Includes a brilliantly lingering cover of ‘Summertime Sadness’ by Lana Del Ray.
Constant Mongrel, ‘Living In Excellence’: Post-punk chaos and Aussie realness.
DZ Deathrays, ‘Bloody Lovely’: Brutally crafted chords but not aggressive in delivery. Like a polite punch in the face.
NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard