Without a doubt 2015 has been the best year in the history of Australian music. The amount of quality tracks and artists that we couldn’t fit into this list was astounding.
What’s particularly exciting is the fact that most of these artists are new, which makes the prospect of putting together next year’s list seem even more daunting.
We would like to thank all the artists for making the music, the readers who share our site’s content, the writers who contributed this year, and everyone else who makes the Australian music scene extremely enjoyable to be a part of in our own small way.
The dream pop duo Zone Out out of Melbourne consists of Dove Bailey and Ashley Bundang. They’ve been floating around the scene since 2012, but they grabbed our attention three months ago, when they uploaded ‘Inside‘. Their latest single ‘So Bright‘ also featured in our Ripe Australian Chart posts, but ‘Inside’ is more organic, fluid and encapsulating.
The music video features the band members wearing matching clothes and appearing everywhere inside the household of a couple. My favourite scene (that made me chuckle) is the awkward shower, where the boyfriend can barely lift his arms above his head due to the tight squeeze. Special mention goes to the next scene buried under the soil, simply because of the commitment to the video’s theme. In the end the couple find themselves outside, while Zone Out are still on the ‘Inside’.
Phantastic Ferniture are a garage rock band out of Sydney who caught our attention in November with the single ‘Gap Year‘, and then found themselves ranked #1 in one of our weekly Australian chart posts. The lead singer Julia Jacklin‘s vocal tone impressively reminds us of Angel Olsen, while the band draws from influences such as Warpaint.
They only have three songs currently on their SoundCloud page, but there’s enough brilliance within ‘Gap Year’ to convince us that 2016 could be a breakout year for Phantastic Ferniture. We wanted to get to know them a little better first and asked them what Australian tunes they’ve been enjoying lately. Have a listen below.
Closet Straights – ‘Eight Days’
“We just wanna wind down the windows and sing along, LOUD.”
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – ‘Clean Slate’
“40 degrees outside, icy pole in hand, just got paid. YES.”
The Drones – ‘Taman Shud’
“We need a big bag of ice after that haymaker from Gareth.”
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – ‘Paper Mâché Dream Machine’
2015 in Australia has definitely been dominated by guitar bands, with many including The Ocean Party, Dick Diver, Blank Realm, Royal Headaches and Twerps delivering their most mature efforts to date. Other artists originally considered a little bit more left of field, such as Sui Zhen, Kučka and I’lls, found a more accessible middle ground with their releases.
Some young artists like Amateur Dance, Crepes, Gold Class and Good Morning flashed their future potential, and a few debut releases by Jaala, Roland Tings and Sampa The Great might be considered one day to be Australian classics. Meanwhile, Tame Impala and Courtney Barnett demonstrated why they’re clearly the current quality benchmark in Australia and around the world.
If you’re looking for Christmas presents, click on the album images below for links to purchase the albums and support Australian music.
25. Banoffee – Do I Make You Nervous?
24. Oisima – Nicaragua Nights
23. Summer Flake – Time Rolls
22. Sui Zhen – Secretly Susan
21. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon
20. Amateur Dance – It’s Really Something
19. Flowertruck – Dirt
18. Terrible Truths – Terrible Truths
17. Crepes – Cold Summers
16. Gold Class – It’s You
15. Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon
14. The Ocean Party – Light Weight
13. Kučka – Unconditional
12. I’lls – Can I Go With You To Go Back To My Country
11. Jaala – Hard Hold
10. Good Morning – A Vessel / Radiovoice and On The Street / You
9. Totally Mild – Down Time
8. Blank Realm – Illegals In Heaven
7. Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida
6. Royal Headaches – High
5. Roland Tings – Roland Tings
4. Sampa The Great – The Great Mixtape
3. Twerps – Range Anxiety
2. Tame Impala – Currents
1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Cosima Jaala performs as Jaala, who makes sporadic garage rock, that sounds scattered and unsure of where it wants to go, when in fact Cosima knows exactly what she’s doing. It sounds just like the thought process behind her favourite TV show Rick and Morty.
After growing up in Queensland, Cosima now lives in Melbourne. Earlier this year Jaala opened for Hiatus Kaiyote and dropped ‘Hard Hold‘, which generated some intrigue and buzz. Then on the 20th of November she released her debut album Hard Hold and it’s lived up to the high expectations.
On New Years Eve Jaala is having a party with Nai Pal and Sampa The Great at Boney in Melbourne, but before then, have a listen to her current favourite tunes and read which ice-creams they remind her of.
Good Morning – ‘Warned You’
“‘Warned You‘ by Good Morning is a track I get really angry with because it doesn’t go for long enough. Listening to this is like eating a Caramel Magnum ice-cream whilst getting a blow job by a hungry octopus.”
Totally Mild – ‘Always Around’
“‘Always Around‘ by Totally Mild is about a fair-weather friend; something I think we can all relate to. Listening to this song is like eating a Golden Gaytime whilst getting a back rub by a very relaxed monkey on Vicodin.”
Two Steps on the Water – ‘Thunderstorm for One’
“‘Thunderstorm for One‘ by Two Steps on the Water is heart wrenching song and heavily drizzled in syrupy beauty. I heard it on the radio the other day and it sucked some tears out of my eyes. Listening to this is like eating a Rainbow Paddlepop whilst an angel does a warm and delicate piss on your solar plexus.”
Reuben Bloxham – ‘Brine’
“‘Brine‘ by Reuban Bloxham is a well crafted little tune from a really talented musician. Looking forward to more music from this mysterious creature. Listening to this song is like sucking the last of the sweet juice out of a Callippo whilst swatting baby flies on a window ceiling above your bed.”
Gregor – ‘Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan cover)’
“The entire album UW by Gregor but especially the track ‘Lay lady Lay‘ which is a Bob Dylan cover. Gregor is strange and delightful enigma and you should really have a listen to his music. Listening to ‘Lay Lady Lay’ is like eating a Maxibon in a shitty Nissan Pulsar on the way to no where.”
It doesn’t take a lot of Sherlock Holmes skills to assume that a band with the name The Goon Sax are Australian. They’re from Brisbane to be precise and they share a similar sound to other bands on the Chapter Music label such as Dick Diver and Twerps. ‘Boyfriend‘ is the second single from their upcoming debut album Up To Anything, that’s due for release March 11th, 2016.
The stripped back arrangement within ‘Boyfriend’, makes its simplicity very easy for the brain to memorise and become addictive. Especially on very days, like today in Melbourne. The sharp and distinct opening guitar line, that follows with band softly crashing behind it, is crafty and effective. Without sounding too obvious or over calculated. After all, the band claim they wrote the song in 10 minutes. Throw in the calm, duel vocals on the catchy lyrics “I wish I had a boyfriend, or anything that’s real”, and you have yourself short, jangling, garage pop in its purest form.
The Ocean Party from Melbourne have uploaded a video for ‘Black Blood‘ off their latest album Light Weight. ‘Black Blood’ is the album’s opening track, the lyrics describing the death of a horse of theirs, and their dream of riding it one more time – no doubt a metaphor for numerous other childhood nostalgias.
The video itself reinforces this as two of them live out their childhood dreams, one a dancer and the other a rock star. A picture of a yellow Ferrari Testarossa and a rather depressing pot plant are no doubt symbolic of their childhood homes; less clear is the purpose of the third band member who makes guest appearances in just his underpants, wiping sweat off the dancer and handing a guitar to the rock star. Perhaps his dream was to be a sexy assistant?
However deep you want to look into the song and video, the instrumentation in ‘Black Blood’ is a fine example of the level of talent and camaraderie present in The Ocean Party.
2015 in Australia will be remembered by the domination of guitar bands. The one electronic artist who tried his hardest to dispute this claim was Rohan Newman aka Roland Tings out of Melbourne, who not only delivered by far the strongest top-to-bottom house album of the year, but arguably one the finest Australia has ever produced. Triple J even made it their feature album, despite Jamie Xx‘s being the only other album they picked this year that resembled house music.
Later in the year he did a mic drop with the release of the single ‘Hedonist‘; made his USA debut playing alongside the Future Classic crew; recorded a mix for Boiler Room; and, most recently, headlined the fantastic lineup at Paradise Music Festival, delivering the standout set of the weekend. In other words, he’s now ready to take over the Western world in 2016.
However, before he does that, he’s headlining a show at Howler Melbourne on the 19th of December. Tickets can be had here, and we can’t recommend catching this show strongly enough.
We have five tracks he’s been listening to lately, so have a listen and read his thoughts below.
Banoffee – ‘With Her’
“I just bloody love this song. Martha kills it every time; this is the first time I’ve heard her reference house music so clearly, and I really like it.”
Bronze Savage – ‘Waxed Apple’
“My long-time collaborator and partner in various/dubious creative projects, Bronze Savage. Bronze made this when we were living in rural Victoria in an old church in the middle of winter. It was very cold. Every day I would hear him making weird sounds on his bizarro collection of digital synths, but I couldn’t make much sense of it until he handed me this track. Who knows how he did it!”
Cale Sexton – ‘Error Scrap’
“I love this piece from Cale. It shows a huge amount of willingness on his part to dive deep into his sound, to understand every nuance of his equipment and shine light on little pieces of overlooked gold.”
Hummingbird – ‘Is There A Word For The Light That Falls’
“I was recently very obsessed with Hummingbird. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them. Perfect pop music from Adelaide.”
Mall Grab – ‘Bone’
“I saw Michael Kucyk of Noise In My Head on the weekend and he asked me if I had checked Mall Grab yet. I had not. Now I have. Its inspiring to see people popping up all around Australia with sounds that are pushing club music forwards worldwide.”
Welcome to our latest feature – Ripe’s Australian Chart, where we post an update every Sunday on our top tracks uploaded in the past month by Australian artists, ranked all the way to #1. You’ll find our chart below, and a weekly playlist on the Ripe SoundCloud.
For this week’s new entries, we have at #25 ‘Spring 2‘ from Rat & Co in Melbourne, which is the second part of a two-track release (‘Spring‘ having been released last month). If you’re looking for some Boards Of Canada escapism, Rat & Co are worth diving into further.
LUCIANBLOMKAMP emerges from the Melbourne shadows once again with new single ‘Comfort‘ – although the track provokes unease more than anything else, skittering its way in at #22.
We get orchestral at #20 with Anatole up in Sydney. ‘Colours‘ is the second single from the upcoming Surrounds EP, out on December 18th via Teef Records. It’s filled with violins, viola, cello, double bass and a clarinet – I wish Bonobo was still recording music with real instruments like this.
The Shards make a reappearance in the chart posts with ‘Gossip & Bands‘ at #13. All we know so far is that they’re from Melbourne, and this song sounds like a softer number by Dick Diver. Both the previously-listed ‘Making Shapes Out Of The Ground‘ and now ‘Gossip & Bands’ feature on their latest EP, Best New Reissue.
The Melbourne duo Ara Koufax are back at #6 with their first new song in six months, and it’s called ‘Adult Concepts‘. If it sounds like an introduction track, it’s because it was originally written to be exactly that. If you’re looking for more gentle, sprawling electronic music like ‘Adult Concepts’, check out Tycho‘s Burning Man sets on SoundCloud.
I’d never heard of Julia R. Anderson from Brisbane until a few days ago, but I’m already very intrigued and ‘In The Beginning‘ jumps right up into #5 this week. She looks like Tune-Yards and sings like Melody Echo Chamber or Twin Sister, and sounds just as tantalising as all three of those artists. Remember the name Julia R. Anderson; her debut album comes out 2016.
I’m not sure how I missed the initial upload of ‘Black Dignity‘ by Sampa The Great from Sydney. It’s the first single post her head-turning The Great Mixtape debut just three months ago. She’s already been labeled a female Kendrick Lamar, but I hear Shabazz Palaces in the space-beats, and even early Clipping in her flow. This definitely won’t be the last time that she features in the top 5.
Peruw out of Melbourne drops almost ten minutes of deep tech house at #3 with ‘Namek‘. Fresh off playing at Earthcore, while in the midst of his own personal Geyser tour around Sydney and Melbourne, Peruw clearly has high ambitions. ‘Namek’ never tries to overexert itself, instead transfixing the listener within its own restrained parameters – the hallmark of a producer who knows exactly what he’s doing.
25. Rat & Co – ‘Spring 2’
Uploaded: December 3rd
24. Zone Out – ‘So Bright’
Uploaded: November 20th | Last Week: #23
23. Plum – ‘Reveal’
Uploaded: November 14th | Last Week: #22
22. LUCIANBLOMKAMP – ‘Comfort’
Uploaded: November 30th
21. Deer – ‘All Alone ft. Martin King’
Uploaded: November 17th | Last Week: #21
20. Us The Band – ‘And I Will’
Uploaded: November 24th | Last Week: #20
19. Anatole – ‘Colours’
Uploaded: December 1st
18. Max Savage – ‘Baby Don’t Cry’
Uploaded: November 18th | Last Week: #19
17. Nutrition – ‘Advice Needed’
Uploaded: November 19th | Last Week: #18
16. Marcus Whale – ‘If (Demo)’
Uploaded: November 10th | Last Week: #16
15. Luna Ghost – ‘Eyes Of Sleep’
Uploaded: November 24th | Last Week: #15
14. Flamingo Jones – ‘Fred Bear’
Uploaded: November 16th | Last Week: #12
13. The Shards – ‘Gossip & Bands’
Uploaded: November 4th
12. Lisa Salvo – ‘Give Me Your Love’
Uploaded: November 7th | Last Week: #10
11. Arthur Miles – ‘The Prince Feat. Babicka & HVCK’
The Adelaide label Untzz Rec. has been on our radar since the start of the year. They release music from impressive Adelaide artists such as Babicka, HVCK and Mic Mills, but the one who has really stood out is Arthur Miles. Outside of Roland Tings‘ debut album, in my opinion, no Australian electronic artist has been as exciting as Arthur Miles.
‘Slow Cooling Heat Pt. 2‘, ‘Navajoa‘ and ‘The Prince‘ are all currently still in the running for our upcoming Top 100 Australian Tracks of 2015 list – that’s how strong his three releases have been. Arthur combines slick production and ambitious sprawls with an understanding of pacing and flow.
We’re not sure what he has in store for 2016, but expect Arthur Miles to be a big drawcard soon. Until then, check out his picks for Trading Tunes.
Braden Schlager – ‘Morning (Du Heaume Mix)’
“Beautiful, spacey, deep and nostalgic – this four-song release is a re-issue of the only four tracks Australian ’90s producer Braden Schlager ever made. The cover art is also amazing!”
Hummingbird – ‘Make a Space (demo)’
“This is the other project I’ve been investing my time in with full-time vocalist and part-time bass player Elena Nees aka Allume. Sparse harmonies, analogue drums and some bowed guitar thrown in for good measure.”
Lucy Warhole – ‘Zeklofftt’
“Acid Techno from the depths of a hazed-out German warehouse (or maybe even a Ballarat studio?). It’s hard to tell, but either way this is really, really good.”
Crime & the City Solution – ‘Six Bells Chime’
“Rowland S Howard guitar and Wim Wenders direction – the mood of this is amazing. The back catalogue of interesting Australian rock is seemingly endless.”
Sebastian Vivian – ‘____________ ///`’
“A sometimes collaborator (and good friend of mine), I am constantly envious of Seb’s productions. This reminds me of Nujabes-esque Japanese hip-hop taken 1,000 years into the future. The rest of his SoundCloud isn’t bad either.”