Life is getting busier and busier every year, it’s becoming harder and harder to follow all the great stuff coming out of the Australian music scene that’s continuing to grow into its own unique ecosystem. We really enjoyed pulling together a half time 2017 top 50 post last year, so we knew we had do it again this year. Hopefully it helps get yourself and your friends up to speed on what’s been happening in Australian music throughout 2018.
We’ve listed the variety of tracks in alphabetical order to save some of the list fun for the end of year top 100 post, plus it can take all year to truly disgust the most memorable tracks. We’ve created the playlist on both Spotify and SoundCloud.
As always, we want to take this opportunity to send out a huge thank you to everyone who has sent us music this year, contacted us, shared, liked, commented or re-tweeted Ripe.
Talented multi-instrumentalist (and all-round-nice-guy) Lachlan Denton, caught our attention years ago in the local-unstoppable six-piece band The Ocean Party. Flashing forward to now however, Lachlan is breaking off with his own material and recording collaboration albums with the likes of Emma Russack. His latest solo album Two Months In Ben Woolley’s Room was released independently in June and is available online via bandcamp.
The story behind the creation and recording of Two Months In Ben Woolley’s Room makes a very unique release. Recorded in Abbotsford over ‘two months’ (as the name suggests) it follows the end of an eight-year relationship. The songs are very heartfelt and nostalgic, looping endlessly through Lachlan’s thoughts – “Be apart of your world”, “I know it’s not your job to care” and “I want to be irrational for us”.
The musical arrangements complement Lachlan’s inner thoughts, making the songs not only relatable but a very easy listen for any mood. Deep-dive into your own thoughts or listen to a voice you can relate too, let this album play out and accompany you through your thoughts and day.
When we recently had the opportunity to chat to Lachlan about his album and progress so far, he sent us five ‘sentimental pop songs’ for a Lachlan Denton edition of Trading Tunes – check them out below!
Stolen Violin – ‘Romance at the Petrol Station’
“My favorite song from one of my favorite songwriters. Knowing that Jordan is from North Queensland gives me the most vivid imagery of a humid northern summer when I listen to this song.”
Lower Dens – ‘I Get Nervous’
“This song has such a beautiful tension. It manages to musically and lyrically evoke the feeling of being in the presence of a new romance. ”
Dick Diver – ‘Amber’
“I’ve done a lot of regional touring with the The Ocean Party, and this song evokes the feeling of driving through a small town on a golden afternoon. ”
Emma Russack – ‘Migration’
“I’m very lucky to call Emma a friend. This song is my favorite of all the amazing songs she has written. Dream like imagery that is utterly bitter sweet.”
The Church – ‘To Be In your Eyes’
“This song should have been on a John Hughes film. It hits me. Utterly romantic.”
Carla Ori is the genius behind the Melbourne avant-pop group Biscotti. However, it’s evident Biscotti focused more on the avant than the pop on their 2017 debut album Like Heaven In The Movies.
Outside of maybe ‘Instamatic‘ that builds around the lyrics more than any other track, the rest of the album explores moods, spaces and dimensions, all in order to twist, challenge and open your mind to any idea that comes from Biscotti. There’s Depeche Mode ’80s funk meets late 2000’s indie-rivival on ‘Soda Pop‘. ‘Jeanie Brown‘ is scattered like a child full of sugar, dancing with an off-kilter tempo. Trip-Hop carries the momentum of ‘Luciano’s Jalopi‘, while ‘Fantastico‘ trips you into another world entirely. Carla never overloads the palette of colourful ideas, ‘Cognac‘ is the perfect example of stripping it back and letting the air breathe between the notes, like the white walls of a gallery, letting you process the art installations. Biscotti even throw in some political humor in the final track hilariously titled ‘Leave The Gun Take The Cannoli‘.
You can catch Biscotti at the Scienceworks ‘Party Beyond’ this Friday the 22nd of June. You can also catch Pillow Pro and Future Fosil perform with the added option to explore all the science around you. Click over here for bookings: Scienceworks
Kali Uchis – ‘After the Storm’
“Current favourite new pop star and favourite album of 2018 to date. Damn, I don’t know where to start. Of course it is her voice which is the first thing that sounds out, but you start to look at the list of people that she is collaborating with and the aesthetic of her video clips and you need a serviette to wipe the drool from your mouth. This clip in particular is just soo up Biscotti alley in terms of aesthetic and quirkiness. ”
Khruangbin – ‘Evan Finds the Third Room’
“‘We found the happiest lady in China. We told her that you don’t need a real hula hoop to have fun. She agreed.’ – Josh King
What a genius idea for a fun video clip. Discovered this group recently through a friend. I love the weird wig thing they have going on (see live videos or photos of the group). The group were originally inspired by Thai Psychedelic tunes from the 70’s, a little like my other band Empat Lima were with their Indonesian garage pop obsession.
Kadhaj Bonet – ‘Mother Maybe’
“I have consciously been tuning into a lot more female singers recently as a form of listening practice to expand my own vocal skills. I know little about this woman so far but apparently she plays all the parts on her record like I do, so we have something in common. I’m loving her arrangements and vocal lines.”
Sun Ra – ‘Lanquidity’
“My first Sun Ra album. Avant-garde. Meeting Marshall Allen.
I list this album specifically because it was the first album of Sun Ra that I listened to and somehow when an artist strikes you so much it is this first impression that stays with you. I’ve always loved the avant-garde and people who challenge the status quo, who are living on the edge with their ideas. The Sun Ra Arkestra recently came to Melbourne, I hadn’t planned to go, yeah a bunch of old dudes playing old tunes and Sun Ra isn’t even alive anymore. A friend happened to be hanging out with some of the members and invited me to join. Long story short, we spent the next three days hanging out, they put me on the door for all their shows and were just super excited to jam with anyone. Marshall Allen, the last standing original member, is touring at 94 years of age. His message to us was ‘We made this music for you, for the people of the 21st century!’”
Pavarotti – ‘Ave Maria’
“Our modern world is a stressful place, so why not a little soothing opera to calm the mind.
There was a lot of Pavarotti present in the the background of my childhood, my father would play his albums on repeat and often when we were on a car trip. Perhaps it is this association that transforms me to a peaceful place. His voice in combination with imagery of the countryside landscape passing by my back seat window.”
This is our updated weekly playlist of the 40 best new Australian songs released within the past two months. This week’s guide includes new entries from Simona, PRIMO!, Ms.45, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Mares, Exhibitionist, East Brunswick All Girls Choir, Michael Beach, Lexicon, The Faculty, The Goods, Greenwave Beth, Dream Coast, Turtle Bay Television, Trè Samuels, Gena Bruce, Frida and this week’s best new track by Loose Tooth.
You may know Lehmann B. Smith from Totally Mild, or from one of his previous three albums. If not, you’re in for a wild yet soothing time on his latest album Poplar Music via Bedroom Suck.
If you spend ten seconds talking to Lehmann IRL, you’ll know this man doesn’t see the world very conventionally — rather, in a million moving ideas all flickering at once. Poplar Music in some ways maneuvers like his brain. The opening track ‘Blame Me‘ innocently sways in the sunny open road like an early Atlas Sound song. On the next track ‘Pave The Road‘ the rhythm glitters like album Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective, but with the forward momentum of Spiritualized and this is where the influences begin to move back in time.
The interlude ‘Harder‘ emulates the Parklifeera of Blur, but with a the goofy tinge of Of Montreal. However it’s not all obvious influences, as Lehmann comes into his own midway through the album, taking on a QuentinTarantino visual mindset with sliding guitars and the feel of pure freedom on ‘Do It Again‘. The Tarantino mythical jaggedness is in full effect on ‘Chromaticlash‘. There’s a sort of Disney soft waltz happening throughout ‘10th Dec‘ and it’s fascinating to follow. His unique combination of ideas from wild movies and more recent bands like Timber Timbre or Broken Social Scene on ‘Tropical‘ and ‘Thus Must Rust‘, leaves his sound and product floating in its own space. He hasn’t entirely fleshed out his ideas just yet, but he’s heading in the right direction creatively.
Word from Lehmann:
“I started recording this new album in 2013 with big ambitions to make a really beautiful, conceptual, catchy triple-album. After about a year of working on it I became a bit forlorn and then in 2015 I quit music and dropped the album and did nothing at all for a year. Slowly I started resolving in my mind that it was okay to fail – or be a failure – and I started to feel good again and became less down on the futility of making music, then it was easy to finish this album “Poplar Music” and it turned out not half-bad. Here are some songs that remind me that even though times are usually tough, everything is gonna turn out alright and everybody’s gonna buy your album.”
The Tote in Melbourne – Residency Details:
Sunday the 3rd of June with Jaala (solo)
Sunday the 10th of June with The Finks
Sunday the 17th of June with Emma Russack
Sunday the 24th of June with Elizabeth (Totally Mild)
Burl Ives – ‘From Here On Up The Hills Don’t Get Any Higher’
Ruby And The Romantics – ‘Our Day Will Come’
The Apostles – ‘Don’t Huzzle For Love’
Pete Dello and Friends – ‘It’s What You’ve Got’
Håkan Hellström – ‘Du gamla (That’s Alright Since My Soul Got a Seat Up in the Kingdom)’
Back in 2016, Melbourne via Queensland musician Gabriella Cohen caught our attention with her album Full Closure and No Details. The album contained local community radio staples such as ‘I Don’t Feel So Alive‘ and ‘Sever The Walls‘ via a modern ’70s sound reminiscent of Girls, Foxygen or Smith Westerns, and female vocals somewhere between Jaala and Best Coast. Underneath the aforementioned sonic aesthetic comparisons, you could hear a songwriter with an ear for distinct melodies and strong song structures that really work.
That talent is evident on the first couple of singles from her upcoming new album Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love, out June 1st via Dot Dash / Remote Control and Captured Tracks. The production and journey combination of ‘Baby‘ is one of the finest experiences by anyone all year, especially the saucy tail end outro. The second single ‘Music Machine‘ is the classic dry summer road-tripping song, where your seats are reclined, your sunnies barely hanging on and it’s cruise control only.
As Gabriella Cohen grows in confidence, she’s really coming into her own and becoming a must follow. Luckily, she’s about to go on tour.
Friday the 8th of June at The Northern, Byron Bay NSW – FREE SHOW
Saturday the 16th of June – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD – Tickets
Friday the 22nd of June – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine VIC – Tickets
Saturday the 23rd June – Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne VIC – Tickets
Sunday the 24th June – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC – Tickets
Friday the 29th June – Waywards, Sydney NSW – Tickets
Weyes Blood – ‘Used To Be’
“I have just recently discovered the power of Weyes Blood and I can only express how mesmerised I am by her music. Especially this song… It really is heart music… when I first heard the opening few bars it struck my heart as if I already knew it… It hangs high on string of heart wrenching, nostalgic melodies, not to mention fantastical arrangements of such classic calibre.. Big fan.”
Paul Simon – ‘Run That Body Down’
“I was in the Nambour Time Machine around 2011 and found Paul Simon’s self titled record for $2. I thought to myself ‘what a score’ and fell in love with the honest folk sounds Simon does only too well. His voice is like honey, to this day… I can’t believe he’s doing his farewell tour… I’d love to be in his band…..This song in particular is one of my favourites. Enjoy.”
Chico Buarque – ‘Funeral De Um Lavrador’
“My mother used to play a lot of Chico in the house when I was growing up, so he is like one of my musical fathers. The song title in English means ‘A Worker’s Funeral’…. Look up the lyrics and listen to his music if you haven’t already… he will make you dance and cry.”
Drugdealer ft. Weyes Blood – ‘The End Of Comedy’
“We met Drugdealer in a grocery store in Silverlake and wondered why he looked so familiar….Kate and I were like, oh what a nice dude. Then we looked up his music and thought ohhhhh.. wow!! I enjoy this song and this album very much…”
Connie Converse – ‘Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains)’
“‘You may think you left me all alone, but I can hear you talk without a telephone’. She’s like the long lost sister of Vashti Bunyan. I’ve just discovered Connie Converse and she’s breaking my heart. It’s written that after a decade into her slow music career, she jumped into her Volkswagen and drove away, never to be seen again.”
Leonard Cohen – ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’
“This is a letter to a heart. Say no more. Leonard has a knowing and a profound understanding of lovers he articulates in his songs. Recommended for any human who struggles to meditate.”
Joni Mitchell – ‘California’
“I discovered this song a few weeks before I booked a flight to California. It was the theme song for the month to come of waiting…. and I was waiting to meet a lover…. so it was my love song of the month… Joni has a lot to be thanked for, an artist who has given so much to the arts. She is incredible… ”
The Jungle Giants – ‘Used To Be In Love’
“Proud to say I know these guys — and have seen what a solid hardworking band they are. I’ve been at a few of their concerts surrounded by crying screaming fans… total Beatlemania…. amazing, right? Congrats to The Jungle Giants for being a prolific independent band taking over the world and breaking teenage girls’ hearts one pop hit at a time.”
If you know me, you know I’m long time team Scott & Charlene’s Wedding passionate supporter. I’ll push this band privately and publicly until people actually wake up and realise how special they really are.
Their 2013 album Any Port In A Storm was a fantastic, vibrant and full of character LP, but it may have gotten lost within the current wave of other dolewave associated bands at the time. Even convincing other music nerds that this band was different and of the ingeniousness of lead singer and S&CW mastermind Craig Dermody was surprisingly difficult.
In 2016 they took their song writing and production to another level with the album Mid Thirties Single Scene. The song level craftsmanship across the entire album was head and shoulders above not just anything in Australia, but around the globe. The lyrical topics, vocal animations, variety of song structures and instrumentation interplay so perfectly are are so carefully considered, you’d assume they were one of the bigger and more vital bands going around. Unfortunately the album just never caught on outside of a small circle of lucky people, making me question humanity more than Trump being elected that year.
Scott & Charlene’s Wedding are playing at The Curtin this Saturday June 2nd for only $10, which is the craziest bargain since Costco. Peak Twins and Cyanide are also on the bill, and to get you excited the drummer Joe Alexander has sent us “Bands that I would like to play at my wedding“.
“I have a fantasy that a Band cover band will play at my wedding. In the fantasy it’s a huge bizarro morphing version of the Band which includes myself, the person/people I am marrying, friends old and new, and original band members. The lines blur between who is in the audience and who is playing, and we go on for hours and hours until they kick us out. I think it would be really fun!”
Native Cats – ‘Shovel on Shovel’
“Absolutely yes to having the best and saddest dance band in Australia play at my wedding. We could all cut a rug and it would be way more fun then that stupid Joy Division song by The Wombats.”
Good Morning – ‘Cab Deg’
“I know this is dorky but I really love Good Morning! They are a great band and we have shared some fun shows in strange places together. One of my fondest memories is singing along to ‘Cab Deg‘ at a show of theirs, I feel like we could absolutely get drunk and do this at my wedding and it would be a beautiful bonding experience for everyone.”
David Blumberg & The Maraby Band – ‘Gunzelman’
“A bit unfair as I also play in this band but you can’t go wrong with an 9-piece double drummer, double percussionist spectacular. I have also witnessed people go absolutely bananas to this band playing a cover of AC/DC‘s ‘Jailbreak‘ which would be fun, it normally ends in at least two people falling off stage in a moment of absolute and pure joy.”
NRBQ – ‘Magnet’
“I recently fell in love with this song and fell in love with somebody while listening to this song. I think this would have to be the grand finale of any wedding party I ever attend if I was to be the one getting married.”
This is our updated weekly playlist of the 40 best new Australian songs released within the past two months. This week’s guide includes new entries from School Damage, Warren Raww, Oscar Key Sung, Tiaryn, Lachlan Denton, Field Maps, Gabriella Cohen, Mosam Howieson, Ash Hendriks, Hatchie, Maureen, Paper Flowers, Voiid, Tanaya Harper and this week’s best new track by Rudolf C.
Melbourne do-it-all musician Oliver Mestitz AKA The Finks has just released his new album Rolly Nice via Milk! Records / Remote Control, two very reliable labels, so you know it’s worth a listen.
Across the album’s 11 tracks, Oliver delicately crafts songs perfect for calmly processing your thoughts the morning after. The album holds you like a loving snuggle, it’s nervous, but it wants to get close to you. Oliver lightly plays instruments intricately like The Sea and Cake or Real Estate. His recording to tape technique gives the album a Mac DeMarco twang. There’s even spoken word used on ‘Charlie’s Manifesto‘, that comes off politely and not forceful.
The less is more approach harnesses the focus of each song. Oliver isn’t trying to hide cooked ideas under unnecessary layers of sound, he knows that the heart of each song is important and avoids taking your attention away from it. ‘Cold Water‘ feels like a stream of consciousness, even though he likely took many recordings to nail that version. Oliver never makes you feel like he’s in a recording studio, but more a log cabin in a forest, or an empty beach house in winter — it’s very quiet around wherever he is. That’s why I recommended you listen to Rolly Nice in a quiet space, too.
I could go on, but I’ll let you interpret the rest of the album as you see fit. Here’s some words from The Finks about his Trading Tunes: “Over the course three albums, I’ve developed a few methods of avoiding the monotony of my own singing voice. Rolly Nice uses all of them: instrumental songs, spoken-word songs, songs sung by other people, and duets. These five songs are what I think about when I think about duets.”
Saturday June 16th at the Tanswell in Beechworth
Sunday June 17th at The Bridge in Castlemaine
Saturday June 23rd at The Grace Darling in Melbourne
John Prine – ‘Unwed fathers’
“I bought Aimless Love after I heard this song on a podcast about why country music is so sad. There’s a lot to like about it (the lyrics, the chorus-y lead guitar), but what really kills me is Rachel Peer-Pryne‘s vocals.”
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – ‘Je t’aime, moi non plus’
“These late sixties/early seventies Serge Gainsbourg albums have the most amazing rhythm section. If you’ve ever doubted that the Eiffel Tower was a phallic symbol, this video will set you straight.”
Times New Viking – ‘DROP – OUT’
“I saw Times New Viking play live in 2010 and I’m still talking about it. If I played loud music, I’d want it to sound like this.”
C.O.C.O. – ‘C.O.C.O.
“One bass guitar, one drum kit, two singers. They make it sound so easy.”
Mount Eerie ft. Julie Dorion & Fred Squire – ‘Lost Wisdom’
“I got to the end of this playlist thinking that there was too much American music, that I needed something Australian. But then I remembered this.”
Ahead of the Freedom Time Music Festival 2018, Melbourne legends and dance-floor shape-cutters Sleep D have sent us five tunes with the theme of Australian music for laying on the floor.
Freedom Time music festival at the Coburg Velodrome is now in it’s 4th year. With Summer and Winter additions, the festival has become a north-side must attend, with forward thinking and diverse line-ups that bring a range of audio flavours to your ear holes. On New Years they expanded out to Sydney and Perth, hopefully making them a step closer to providing an Australian dance music day festival that’s unique to Australia. Speaking of unique to Australia, the duo Sleep D are one of Australia’s most respected DJs here and abroad. Aside from creating their own brilliant music, what really makes them a level ahead of most DJs is their ability to continuously flip genre switches from set to set, or even drop tracks from across the globe and leave you believing that they’ve genuinely gone vinyl crater digging all over the world. No Sleep D set is ever remotely similar to a previous, making every one a ‘must’ event — making Freedom Time a ‘must’ event, with tickets still available.
Words from Sleep D: “”A collection of music suitable for relaxing at home; on the floor, couch or whilst washing the dishes. After a hard days work, we all need some relax time with cerebral sounds as the backdrop. Sit back with a cuppa for this one.”
Joe Claussell (USA) – Aus Debut
Veronica Vasicka (USA) – Aus Debut
Dopplereffekt (Live / GER)
dip in the pool (Live / JPN) – Aus Debut
Michal Turtle (LIVE / CHE) – Aus Debut
Kuniyuki (Live / JPN)
Jamie Tiller (GER)
Sleep D (Live)
Sui Zhen (Live)
Noise In My Head
Lauren Hansom (SYD)
Turner Street Sound
Waak Waak Djungi – ‘Rainbow Serpent 4:52 (ES006)’
“Mid-’90s recordings of three Yolngu songmen from Northeast Arnhem Land. Being re-issued by Michael Kucyk‘s label Efficient Space in June.”
Fia Fiell – All In The Same Room
“We released a track of Fia Fiell‘s on Domestic Documents late last year and have since fallen in love with her gentle style.”
CS + Kreme – ‘Whip’
“I love this track.”
Low Flung – ‘Lichen Zones (Zone B)’
“Danny also runs local imprint Moontown Records. Keep an ear out for his debut Butter Sessions 12 coming later this year ;)”
Matthew Hayes – Indigo
“Matthew is a talented musician who’s involved with a number of projects around Melbourne. This EP was released by Melbourne label Analogue Attic, run by Albrecht La’Brooy.”