Navigating this year’s dark and difficult winter was no easy feat, and you’d be forgiven if you weren’t keeping track of the latest music releases.
Here are some of the brighter moments of of the past few months from artists right around the country. (See full playlist at end.)
Out in the Desert – King Brown (EP)
Sounds like: Black Keys, Verge Collection
Highlight track: Way Down
Perth rockers King Brown sear a visceral image into your head from the second you press play on their debut EP – an old ute being swallowed up by the horizon, kicking up the red dirt, surfboards in the tray, with nothing in sight but the occasional ancient gum tree.
This is the soundtrack for a summer you haven’t had yet, or a primitive nostalgia for a time long ago. Gritty guitars and steadfast rhythms combine with Brendan Cross’ vocals, which have the edge and the smoothness to compliment a bottle of top-shelf whisky.
The end result is surfy garage rock with an undercurrent of psychedelic blues.
Fuck It; Honey Can We Run Away – Charlie Collins (singles)
Sounds like: Julia Jacklin, Middle Kids
Highlight track: Fuck It
Be warned – don’t expect a unified sound, these songs are wildly different to one another. However, Charlie Collins shows us her strengths and versatility as a songwriter – she can simultaneously unleash a rollicking, sparkly indie banger and a contemplative, atmospheric ballad.
Despite the difference in sound, prominent themes like pain and romance are at the core of these tunes. Whether it is a fantasy out of reach or a relationship falling apart, Collins has an exceptional ability to identify the issue and flesh it out regardless of the emotional turmoil.
It’s not unfair to assume an album is on the way, and given the diversity of the singles so far, it could be something special.
I Love You Unconditionally, I Sure Am Going To Miss You – DMA’s (EP)
Sounds like: My Bloody Valentine, Oasis
Highlight track: We Are Midnight
After releasing their 3rd album, The Glow, last year, it appeared that Sydney trio DMA’s had taken a new sonic direction – swapping raucous indie anthems for sentimental pop and pulsating dance tracks.
However, they return to their 90’s Britpop aspirations here with a surprise 4-track EP. You can feel the fingerprints of My Bloody Valentine on the first two songs (1Way, We Are Midnight), with walls of guitars churning over the dreamy vocals of Tommy O’Dell.
The final number, Junk Truck Head Fuck, is reminiscent of Married with Children, from Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe. You can picture the Gallagher brothers sitting inside on a glum rainy day, their only way of communication a melancholy shrug or sigh.
Sycco’s First EP – Sycco (EP)
Sounds like: Flume, Benee
Highlight track: Best Before
Brisbane artist has been busy since her debut single released in 2018, appearing on triple J segment Like a Version last year. However, the release of her debut EP has shown us the depth of her talent.
Authentic and relatable lyricism, infectiously rhythmic and insanely catchy: Sycco has ticked all the boxes that would normally guarantee an artist a few years playing to booked out crowds on the festival circuit. However, in our COVID dominated world, we might have to wait until summer to see this come to fruition.
Each song of the EP offers something different either sonically or lyrically but retains a trademark vibe that allows listeners to identify the fingerprints of the teenage sensation: blending psychedelic pop and bouncy R’n’B with crystal clear production.
Butterfly 3000 – King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard (LP)
Sounds like: Pond, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Highlight track: Butterfly 3000
Album number 21 came in 2021 for the ever-evolving musical mosaic that is King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. They return to straight forward psychedelia with great effect here, with an emphasis on chirpy synths that cut right through the mix, especially on the first half of the album.
The co-ordination between vocals, rhythm and cascading instrumentals invokes elements of Radiohead’s Kid A, but with a more upbeat tone to it. However, it still has that distinctive Australian flavour that we love and know.
This is an album’s album: transitions between each song that emulate an eloquently stitched tapestry; a kaleidoscope of sound that merges 10 different songs into one 43-minute listening experience.