We listen to a lot of music here at Tone Deaf HQ, and we’re the first to admit we’re perhaps a little biased towards sounds of the Australian variety. We do make the best music in the world, after all.
In honouring our favourite Aussies, we’ve once again compiled a list of the most outstanding local releases you should be listening to right now – whether they’re smaller indies acts or big-name essentials, these are the newest Australian records you should be adding to your ‘must-listen’ list.
Let’s get started.
Superstar – Table For Two (Bedroom Suck)
Melbourne duo Superstar are somewhat of a quietly revered name on the local scene, having only just put out their second full-length album after almost a decade together as a band. They’re more tortoise than hare, but when they do peak out of their shells, they definitely make it worth your while.
Table For Two is a dreamy record full of breezy, slow-burning lo-fi pop. Esther Edquist’s hush vocals are sublime, and they’re complimented beautifully by spacious, languid soundscapes where Kieran Hegarty’s floaty, reverb-soaked guitar washes gently over hum-along key melodies and gentle drum pads. Underneath, the mood in tracks like ‘Folding Gold’ and ‘Cool Memories’ range from solemn to forlorn.
Above all, Superstar’s thoughtful, scenic sound proves that sometimes slower is better.
Birds Of Tokyo – Anchor EP (EMI)
“Some people send postcards when they’re away. Others post their travel pic’s on Instagram. We decided to write a few songs inspired by our time in LA and we’re sending those out instead,” explains Birds of Tokyo frontman Ian Kenny, framing the band’s new EP, Anchor, as a dispatch from la la land. But while some bands would use the opportunity of spending a year in LA to craft a set of summery, carefree tunes, Birds Of Tokyo’s is an unusually cohesive 15-minute meditation that covers subject matter like watching loved ones in “troubled waters”, each observed with the kind of clarity that can only be attained when you’re 10,000km away. (Greg Moskovitch)
Deez Nuts – Word Is Bond (UNFD)
Since the release of their first full-length, Stay True, Deez Nuts have been adept at creating fun, mindless party tracks that don’t shy away from a breakdown or three. Songs like ‘Band Of Brothers’ or ‘Like There’s No Tomorrow’ have always warranted a fun vibe, but with the release of their fourth LP Word Is Bond, it seems that frontman JJ Peters is hearkening back to the glory days of hardcore.
Tracks like ‘Yesterday’ and ‘What’s Good’ channel the likes of Madball and Bad Brains, but with Peters self-proclaiming that the lyrical content of songs like ‘Don’t Wanna Talk About It’ is him at his most exposed, it’s hard not to question the depth of the record as a whole. That’s not to say that every track is a lost cause. ‘Face This On My Own’ stands tall as the albums utmost highlight, indulging in the relatable, if somewhat overexposed themes of friendship and brotherhood. Moreover, old-school hip-hop fans will appreciate the nod to Grandmaster Flash in penultimate track ‘The Message’.
Word Is Bond is an album that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. It’s heavy and aggressive, all the while attempting to toe the line between attitude and sincerity, a balance that the Melbourne four-piece hasn’t quite nailed. It’s not likely to win over many new fans, but with less party anthems than off-kilter tracks; Deez Nuts are progressing in their own way. (Dylan Evans)
Boss Moxi – Oddball (Bedlam Records)
It was a long time in the making, but Brisbane grunge troupe Boss Moxi have finally put out their debut album after a gruelling two year process. For their growing groundswell of fans who have been hanging out for Oddball, they won’t be disappointed with this confident 14-track release.
Frontman Brayden Doig is a captivating vocalist. With every growl, shout, and inaudible wail, you get the impression he’s a person who would have a lot of stories to share after a whisky or two. As a singer, he’s certainly a powerful storyteller, and at his best moments, like on ‘Nymphomaniac’, manages to invoke a bit of Kirin J Callinan, King Krule, and maybe even Nick Cave. Voices like these are hard to come by.
As a whole, Oddball is one hell of a dark, jazz-injected psych trip that grips you from start to finish.
Born Joy Dead – Stones In My Shoe (Independent)
Whereas most of today’s indie acts are more on the pop-r&b side of the spectrum, mostly with synthesisers and samplers more than anything with strings, five years ago “indie” was all about rock.
Born Joy Dead hark back to those days where bands like Little Red and Bluejuice dominated the Hottest 100.
Featuring ex-Hungary Kids of Hungary guitarist Ben Alton, Born Joy Dead make hook-heavy indie pop tunes filled with sweet and heavy guitar licks and shout-along choruses.
With tight and catchy tracks like the roaring ‘Hey Blood’ and the energetic cheer of the EP’s title-track, ‘Stones In My Shoe’, Born Joy Dead’s confident independently-released debut is a great first hint at what’s to come for this young band.
Young Franco – Franco & Friends EP (Independent)
Rising local producer Young Franco has been making dance floors swoon for quite some time now, quickly getting a reputation for himself with his straight-fire club/festival sets and an impressive stream of bootlegs and singles to boot.
Now the Brisbane beatsmith has released his new Franco & Friends EP, which seems him teaming up with some fellow young legends like Triple J’s KLP and fellow rising Brisboy, Feki, for some club-ready collaborative cuts.
With just four tracks, the EP is a short and sweet taster of Young Franco’s latest deep house gems.
From the sugar-sweet hooks on the KLP-assisted ‘Talkin’ Bout It’ to the fat-as-fuck basslines of ‘Don’t Stop’, Young Franco proves once again he knows how to make addictive dance tracks – and they’re only getting more and more polished.