Midway through ‘The Present’ Simona says “Wonder if anyone is listening, when I’d rather just play techno“. It’s that shut up and just dance attitude that Simona always brings to her live sets every time, that’s so encapsulating. Get off your phone, nobody cares about your pointless story, your chatter doesn’t mean anything, let’s just loose ourselves in a dark sweaty techno room. That’s where we all want to be right now, or at least I do. But this track isn’t just about those environments, if you actually spend a bit of time diving into the lyrics, you’ll hear the political side to ‘The Preset’, but I’ll let you decipher the message, because I’d rather just listen to techno Simona.
Tucked away in the little town of Marysville, Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is home to one of Victoria’s best boutique festivals – Paradise.
Taking place from the 25th to the 27th of November, Paradise is an intimate three-day music, camping, and BYO festival. Alongside their four years of festival wisdom, organisers this year received a grant from Creative Victoria, which has enabled them to add new, exciting features – including a third stage for extra fun and activities.
Not only are we excited for the picturesque surroundings and welcoming good-time crowd, the stellar line-up alone is something to gush about. The festival has become the best in the country when it comes to featuring acts the year before they almost double their fanbase and market value. Our team has put their heads together to discuss 8 acts we believe are ready to take that next step in 2017.
In certain circles Harvey Sutherland is already a recognisable name, which is interesting for a musician who hasn’t actually released a whole lot of music since emerging around 2012. Instead he’s been working his butt off playing overseas and perfecting his craft, a wise move in my opinion, especially when electronic music can often be too easy to release half-cooked. However it appears like 2017 is the year we will finally hear all the music Harvey has been slowly cooking and if it’s anything like ‘Bravado‘, he’s set to truly be a household name.
A young breath of fresh air, Baro is leading the current resurgence of Australian hip-hop. Gradually building a following over the last couple of years, he has started to prick up the ears of major music channels within the local industry. This is largely thanks to a lyrical style that fluctuates between melodic verse and rapping, paired with production that thinks outside the traditional Aussie hip-hop box. His latest releases have seen a new level of diversification in his style and the genres he explores. This confidence to tread new grounds will certainly make for interesting listening.
There’s a few people I wouldn’t bet against in the Australian scene and Joe Alexander who runs Bedroom Suck and drums in Terrible Truths, Free Time and Scott & Charlene’s Wedding (among many other guest appearances) is one of those people. Everything he’s been a part of in 2016 has been gold. If Terrible Truths’ recent live shows (including the new tracks) are anything to go by, Australia’s tightest band has somehow become even tighter. Definitely a band that will impress US critics and punters alike.
I think it’s safe to say that 99% of Australia under-appreciated Sui Zhen‘s record last year . It was probably because Sui made the album sound so easy to make, but that was the brilliance of Secretly Susan. Now Sui is back from a two-month inspirational trip to Japan with a fresh bag of ideas for the follow up album. Hopefully this time Australia appreciates what she brings to the table.
A sound so reflective, however not overly nostalgic. It doesn’t seem steeped in the past, rather leaning on little elements of Nico, Karen O & the plethora of bedroom producers of the 90’s. Dannika has transported all of this into a very current style, maintaining a unique lyrical presence that separates her from not only the remainder of this lineup but also the broader musical community. A perfect early afternoon booking, seemingly destined for sun-drenched times on the rock, 50 metres back with a couple of mates.
Three albums into her solo music career, Simona Castricum has graced the Melbourne scene for years as a prolific and talented producer, DJ, vocalist and electronic percussionist. Her distinctive sound is a nod to the dark synth-pop of the 80’s and the techno club tunes of the 90’s. Infused with a smart pop aesthetic, she incorporates live electronic drumming into her sets for a unique live experience. After a successful year following the release of her latest LP Trigger Warning #40, featuring the dance floor ready single ‘No Allegiance,’ Simona will be sure to turn the Paradise stage into an emotionally fuelled outdoor rave.
“Gabriella Cohen is like the next Courtney Barnett“, has been a repeated comment across the industry, but I disagree. Gabriella and her bandmate partner in crime Kate Dillion are more unpredictable, looser and unafraid to take risks. The last part being the X factor, the more confidence Gabriella Cohen gets from the positive feedback around her debut album, the more likely she is to take bolder risks in 2017 and that makes her fascinating to follow.
Planète is arguably the best kept musical secret in Melbourne. He completely went off the grid for a good chunk of 2016, but he’s back with ‘Nightcrawler‘ and a new found assurance of where he wants to go next. Dion is bedroom, music studio junky, who has an ear as good as anyone’s for effective, meticulously detailed arrangements. He’s a perfectionist who may be taking his sweet time, but if it all comes flowing out in 2017, we are in for a real treat.
We’ve also put together a playlist featuring 25 artists playing the festival, which you can find by following the links below to the music streaming service of your choice. See you all in Paradise.
It was an exciting time to be in Footscray a couple of weeks ago, and it wasn’t just to see the Bulldogs win the flag in this year’s grand final. Taking over The Reverence Hotel was Sad Grrrls Fest, a festival to celebrate and create a safe space for local female and LGBTIQA+ artists. The kickass lineup displayed the talents from some of the most exciting Melbourne acts from our thriving local music scene. Taking place across two clash-free main stages, and an acoustic stage in the beer garden, the long overdue warm Spring weather made for a successful day with everybody in high spirits.
The daytime sets saw many emerging local acts, such as The Girl Fridas and Beloved Elk, display their gripping indie rock cuts to the beer and cider-sipping crowd. Slowing down the pace was the enchanting Denim Owl, whose dreamy guitar and folky sensibility was perfect for the sunny afternoon.
As daylight came to an end, the afternoon was polished off with three piece band Claws & Organs, whose drowning, wallowing brand of psychedelic infused grunge was nineties alt rock heaven. Fronted by vocalist and bassist Heather Thomas, the bands back and forth, apathetic chanting vocals embodied a slowed down cover of the Swingers‘ famous hit ‘Counting the Beat’ which they made entirely their own.
Electronic artist KT Spit took the front bar stage as evening approached, her punk influenced brand of electronica with playful, ethereal vocals meeting somewhere between Kathleen Hanna and Grimes. Playing to a mostly seated crowd allowed for an intimate performance, with her isolated dancer expanding the vulnerability of her music. The set also featured an a capalla sung with a vocoder reminiscent of the likes of Imogen Heap‘s ‘Hide and Seek‘.
Packing out the back room stage was Alex Lahey, who has had a big year, securing substantial airplay on Triple J with her track ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me‘. Between her energetic bouncy guitar playing and relaxed vocals, Lahey charmed the crowd with little anecdotes of her experiences, recalling conversations she has had with her mother in times of need.
Simona Castricum took to the front bar stage with her dark eighties/early nineties inspired club tunes. A prolific member of the Melbourne queer music scene as a producer, vocalist and drummer, Simona’s performance was an essential reminder as to why events like Sad Grrrls Fest are still so important. Playing a dance-ready collection of tracks, you could really feel the emotional intensity of her set, with Simona herself brought to tears during her single ‘Still‘, a triumphant nod to the darker reverbed style of eighties synth pop.
Bringing it back to all things rock on the back room stage, punk rock act Miss Destiny’s dynamic tunes laid out a mix of political anecdotes and their signature energetic punk rock sound. Absent from the band was Harriet Stewart, who was out partying for her birthday. Yet the band remained unaffected, with their enormous stage persona and Harriet Hudson’s plentiful shredding guitar solos a highlight of the day.
Camp Cope played the back room stage with their emotional, relatable brand of indie rock. 2016 has been a big year for the band, solidifying their place in the Australian music scene and touring with sold out shows across the country. Vocalist Georgia Maq’s powerhouse vocals and charging guitar complimented the vulnerability and angst embedded in her lyrics. A highlight was their cover of the classic Yeah Yeah Yeahs song ‘Maps‘, which led the whole room erupting into a sing-along, truly encapsulating the communal spirit of the day.
As the night came to a close, the tunes become mellower, with Jess Ribeiro playing the last slot on the front bar stage. Her beautiful harmonies with her bass player made for a more indie-pop sound compared to heavier acts earlier in the day. She mirrored the soulful vocal style of the likes of Cat Power, which saw for an enjoyable and captivating watch. Polishing off the great tunes was Ribeiro and her band’s stage presence, effortlessly communicating with one another as if they were family.
Last on the bill was the always-idiosyncratic presence of Jaala, who have enjoyed widespread attention following the release of their debut record Hard Hold late last year. Coming off the relaxed vibes of Jess Ribero, Jaala fittingly brought the night to a close with their stuttering grooves and pulsating riffs, creating an emotional, disjointed performance like no other. Vocalist and guitarist Cosima Jaala’s anecdotes between songs were always enlightening and relevant, and felt like you were watching an authentic expression of her inner thoughts and feelings alongside the music.
Sad Grrrl Fest showcased some of the best talent from the ever expanding scene of female fronted and queer artists in Australia. An essential celebration and space for performers to express themselves without any limitations or fears is something truly special to watch and be a part of. In the past year, there has been a pivotal and important uprising within this music scene and it makes me truly excited to see which acts will feature next year, and for the acts who featured to continue thriving.