Home Emotional music Flume, Mallrat and Daniel Johns: Australia’s best new music for May | australian music

Flume, Mallrat and Daniel Johns: Australia’s best new music for May | australian music


Pacific Avenue – Leave it for yourself

For fans of: Oasis, Tribes, Primal Scream

As we emerge from a period of global malaise and squinty eyes turn to the sun, Kiama’s Pacific Avenue has released this imposing and invigorating anthem, perfect for returning to the unwashed greats. Like Britpop heroes to whom they owe a sonic debt, Pacific Avenue writes songs of optimism against a backdrop of despair – when the future burns, it’s certainly comforting to reminisce about how far we’ve come and celebrate past personal glories. . . Speaking of which, the band’s previous single, Easy Love, narrowly missed inclusion on Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year, charting at #108 after being flogged by the young broadcaster. But in 2021, the climate was bad for Pacific Avenue. Give It Up For Yourself seems better suited to standing in a field with tens of thousands of your loved ones, facing the sky, chanting words you don’t quite know yet.

For more: Touring Pacific Avenue nationwide in June with Unearthed winners, Tthe Rions.

Jodi Phillis – That Ain’t Love

For fans of: Julee Cruise, the Cocteau Twins, the Clouds

It’s all about the guitars in Jodi Phillis’ haunting new single. Rarely have washes of reverb and tremolo been used to evoke such an unsettling landscape as Phillis unpacks the deception of an unnamed lover over ripples of cascading chorus, lonely cowboy picking and distorted single notes. Every note in the sparse arrangement sounds thoughtful. It’s a complete mood piece, one that Lana Del Rey would kill for. Phillis is a legendary figure in the Australian music scene, fronting The Clouds in the late 80s/early 90s before embarking on a more serene solo career. If this stunning single is any indication, Phillis’ best work may be on the way.

For more: Phillis’ sixth solo album, We Need To Be Free, will be released on June 10th.

Daniel Johns – Emergency Calls Only

For fans of: Silverchair, Bjork, Brian Wilson

Daniel Johns was originally slated to release his long-awaited solo album on April Fool’s Day, a date a little too on the nose for an artist well known for long periods of hibernation. He ultimately pushed the date back three weeks to facilitate this last-minute collaboration with legendary songwriter/producer Van Dyke Parks, the eccentric genius who draped the Silverchair Diorama in ropes and gave Johns the nickname “Young modern”. It’s a good thing he did, because this superb pocket symphony is the culmination of Johns’ new album, FutureNever. Emergency Calls Only is the sonic and emotional sequel to the duo’s epic Tuna In The Brine and is every bit as solemn as its predecessor. Johns uses his falsetto to devastating effect as Parks provides Disney-style strings that dip and swell. It’s a beautiful piece of music.

For more: FutureNever is now available.

‘This superb pocket symphony is the culmination of John’s new album, FutureNever’…Daniel Johns. Photography: Luke Eblen/BMG

Tasman Keith and Genesis Owusu – Check

For fans of: Pusha T, Look at the Throne, Baby Keem

“That sounds so moving, don’t you agree?” Jay-Z said Kanye cut a sample of Otis Redding. Rising Indigenous artist Keith Tasman was clearly listening, echoing that same question after vamping alongside a soul sampler in this tough collab. After a verse of pure spitfire in which Keith somehow manages to sound menacing while also referencing the Powerpuff Girls, the track warps into another sample before the crux of this charming, swaggering melody n emerges. “My words did a check,” Keith proudly declares of his self-taught success, before handing the song over to Owusu, who unleashes a deft, tongue-twisting verse filled with memorable boasts like “Aria, eight names aren’t enough “. and “you put your name next to mine, audacity.” Going in and out in just over two minutes, this is a first-round knockout by two of the best in the country.

For more: Tasman Keith’s debut album, A Color Album, will be released on July 8.

Mallrat ft Azealia Banks – Surprise Me

For fans of: Kitty Pryde, Grimes, Maggie Rogers

Mallrat’s meteoric rise was never more apparent than when she revealed the first album she had ever purchased was 2014’s Broke With Expensive Taste by Azealia Banks. Less than eight years later, Banks was in the studio, telling the 23-year-old pair “Eve and Gwen Stefani should do this shit” on a new cut planned for Mallrat’s debut album. Time is a flat circle, it seems. Mallrat continues his genre-hopping on Surprise Me, delivering a breathless falsetto chorus over a hypnotic beat and underwater synths, while Banks delivers a typically brash, bonkers verse to cap off the song. Banks even gives a nod to the couple’s Australian origins, with a reference to a pussy “tighter than Nicole Kidman’s face.” In effect.

For more: Mallrat’s debut album, Butterfly Blue, will be released on May 13.

Flume ft Damon Albarn – Palace

For fans of: Deep Forest, Faded, Indian Neon

Flume moved to the rivers of the north after returning to Australia from world tours, and a quick listen to his new music would suggest that his most important collaborator is now the flocks of native birds that open the beautiful and atmospheric title track. Palaces. Less a song than a statement of intent, this is clearly a slice of a bigger construct, a snippet to whet the appetite. Though he doesn’t arrive until the track is almost three minutes old, the unmistakable voice of Damon Albarn’s schoolboy choir slips and swarms. Flume’s musical influences are often inscrutable, and even with Albarn’s mockney threatening to drag Streten’s cauldron of sounds into Gorillaz territory, it is to his credit and lack of ego that Flume serves the song above all, as any great singer would do. It’s dangerously close to being music to ponder – the Technicolored rave descent of Flume’s previous work.

For more: Palace.

Lisa Mitchell – Apricot

For fans ofJoni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Holly Throsby

Even at 16, it was clear Lisa Mitchell didn’t belong on the Australian Idol soundstage (she finished sixth in the 2006 season). Closer to Sarah Blasko’s spiritual goddaughter than a smiling duet partner to Millsy, her previous three albums feature a sweet, thoughtful performer who leans toward earthy instrumentation and slow tunes that demand attention. Six years have passed between albums, and little has changed for Mitchell. Apricot is the best song on the new album A Place To Fall Apart, and also the least instantaneous – a barely there sound poem that moves at a chilling pace and will reward repeated listening. Delicately chosen guitar lines stammer under the voice like animals in the undergrowth, brushes scrape against the snare drum as if trying to pass without disturbing the landscape, and Mitchell whispers a melody on top, in the apricot tree, watching it all unfold.

For more: A Place To Fall Apart is now available.

Lisa Mitchell
“A sweet, thoughtful performer who leans towards earthy instrumentation and slow-burning tunes that demand attention” … Lisa Mitchell. Photography: Jess Broheir

Teen Jesus and the Jeans Teasers – Sports for Girls

For fans of: WAAX, The Tiger, Yeah Yeah Yeah

The very aptly named Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers are confused. The Canberra quartet want to know exactly what men get for yelling at women as cars pass, treating women like inferior beings. They aren’t too concerned about the flawed reasoning, however, happily chanting “fuck you” repeatedly throughout the song, as if the pep rally attendees from hell in the famous Teen Spirit music video of Nirvana. Singer Anna Ryan describes the song in a press release as “a big middle finger to all the men who’ve treated us like we’re less than in the music industry”, and the righteous furor explodes. The premise of the song comes from bassist Jaida Stephenson, who broke her teeth in a skating accident, only to be told by a dentist that she should “stick to women’s sports”. Fortunately, rock is a girl’s sport.

For more: The new Pretty Good For A Girl Band EP is out May 13th.

Pure Milk – Dreams on a Tray

For fans of: blacksmiths, Blur, mountain goats

Gold Coast quintet Pure Milk make adorably hearty indie pop, the type that once delivered a few songs at a time on short CDs scouring Candle Records at the turn of the century. Built on a jaunty rhythm track reminiscent of Blur’s coffee and TV – and a bit like that ode to domestic normalcy – Dreams On A Platter is about Brisbane’s dry grass, dying flowers and a child’s move into the big city. As with previous Pure Milk music, there’s a lot of anxiety right under the bouncy, lo-fi soundtrack. Singer Lewis Nitschinsk sounds like a less nasal John Darnielle, and like the frontman of the Mountain Goats, his tongue-in-cheek, descriptive lyrics take center stage, separating Pure Milk from any indie-pop hopefuls.

For more: Check out their 2020 EP Garden Anxiety.

The Australian group Pure Milk
“Lots of anxiety sitting right under the bouncy, lo-fi soundtrack”…Pure Milk, Gold Coast quintet. Photo: Usual Music

The Hard Aches – Party Ghost

For fans of: Lit, Bodyjar, the Smith Street Band

Adelaide power-punk band the Hard Aches live up to their name: they offer three-minute packages of pure emotion. Party Ghost launches with brilliantly distorted guitars and morphs into an anthem that would have been perfectly at home on the American Pie soundtrack if not for Ben David’s brilliant Aussie twang and penchant for Melbourne references. A song about feeling out of place, both emotionally and physically, Party Ghost sometimes takes on split personalities, the “I’m sure you’ll be back when the parties get boring” taunts, apparently coming from a opponent doubting his commitment to his new environment. Teenage Joans’ Cahli Blakers gently harmonizes in verse two, adding a bright Jimmy Eat World feel to David’s desperation.

For more: the Hard Aches embark on a 17-date nationwide tour beginning in July.