Your guide to the best albums and EPs dropping over the next few months.
Historically, Autumn has always presented itself as the best time for Australian artists to release new music: thanks to its close proximity with Australia’s mid-year festival season, artists are able to milk the live circuit for everything it’s worth and keep the hype-train rolling steadily throughout the year.
Despite a noted absence of festivals this time around, there’s certainly no shortage of good music being released over the next three months. Today, we’re turning our attention to twelve new Australian releases dropping this Autumn that we’re keen to hear, featuring the likes of Big Scary, KUČKA, Middle Kids, Jesswar, Liz Stringer and more.
Never miss an update – sign up to our newsletter for all the latest news, reviews, features and giveaways.
Genesis Owusu – Smiling With No Teeth
In what might be the most anticipated Australian hip-hop release of 2021, Canberra’s Genesis Owusu is launching his debut album Smiling With No Teeth on Friday March 5 via Ourness. Recorded alongside a ferocious live band of Sydney session fiends – think Kirin J Callinan, Touch Sensitive, Julian Sudek and Andrew Klippel – Smiling With No Teeth draws upon everything from funk, post-punk, new wave, folk and industrial stylings to offer something totally unique to Australia’s hip-hop landscape.
If singles like ‘Don’t Need You’, ‘The Other Black Dog’ and ‘Gold Chains’ are anything to go by, this one’s shaping up to be massive: tune in to hear more when it drops next week.
Middle Kids – Today We’re The Greatest
Following on from the breakout success of their 2018 self-titled debut, Sydney indie three-piece Middle Kids look to usher in a new era with the release of their sophomore album Today We’re The Greatest.
Slated for release on March 19, the album sees singer/songwriter Hannah Joy and instrumentalists Tim Fitz and Harry Day expand on the exuberant sound of their debut by toying with offbeat rhythms and eclectic instrumental arrangements, linking up with St. Vincent and Purity Ring producer Lars Stalfors in LA to record the album. Everything these guys have released from the album is sounding killer so far, and we’ve got high expectations for when it lands in full this March.
KUČKA – Wrestling
Born in Perth and based in Los Angeles, KUČKA has been making waves in the global electronic scene for a minute now. With a list of previous collaborators that includes the likes of SOPHIE, Flume, Vince Staples, Vegyn, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, KUČKA’s unique vocal timbre and trunk-rattling production style have made her one of the most exciting acts of her calibre today, with her long-awaited debut album Wrestling only looking to solidify this status even further.
Led by the garage-inflected rhythms of recent single ‘No Good For Me’ and featuring previously released tracks like ‘Ascension’, ‘Contemplation’ and ‘Drowning’, Wrestling drops via Soothsayer/Lucky Me on Friday April 30.
Skegss – Rehearsal
Everyone’s favourite lackadaisical surf rockers Skegss have locked in dates for their sophomore release Rehearsal, which arrives on Loma Vista Recordings / Caroline Australia on Friday March 26. Preceded by the breezy acoustic cut ‘Wake Up’, the soulful ‘Under The Thunder’ and upbeat new releases ‘Fantasising’ and ‘Valhalla’, Rehearsal saw the Byron Bay three-piece camp out at The Grove Studios with Catherine Marks (PJ Harvey, The Killers) to cut the new 13 track affair, described as “a thrill ride through the band’s laissez-faire lifestyle and sun-kissed narratives of love, friendship and youthful musings”.
Mere Women – Romantic Notions
Recorded on the verge of last year’s first lockdown at One Flight Up with Tim G Carr in March 2020, Romantic Notions promises to be the fourth full-length from Sydney post-punks Mere Women.
Abundant in dissonant riffage, thudding drums and jarring lyrics that reflect the uncomfortable experiences inflicted upon women, Romantic Notions sees Mere Women at their most visceral and poignant yet, as exemplified by scorching album tracks ‘W.Y.G.’ and ‘As You Please’. This one lands on Friday March 5 courtesy of Poison City Records – get amongst it.
Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 & Tim Shiel – Nervous Energy 一触即
The debut collaborative project between Chinese/Australian avant-garde composer Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 and Tim Shiel – Spirit Level label boss and Double J Arvos host – Nervous Energy 一触即 is a beautiful fusion of traditional Chinese music and contemporary electronica, recorded remotely during last year’s lockdown.
The EP sees Shiel repurpose a hotbed of recordings of Mindy’s traditional guzheng – a 21-string plucked zither – by underlaying them with breakbeats, darting synth arpeggios and ethereal textures, making for an absolutely breathtaking listen. Set for release via Music in Exile – a not-for-profit label initiative that facilitates music from culturally or linguistically diverse communities – Nervous Energy 一触即 drops in full on Friday March 12.
Ehsan Gelsi – Ephemera
A true master of modular synthesis, Ehsan Gelsi makes experimental electronic music that’s enigmatic as hell, and all the better for it. He’s previously performed alongside the likes of Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Pendulum and even Snoop Dogg, but on Ephemera – a performance commissioned by the City of Melbourne to be debuted at a huge performance on the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ – the spotlight is fully on Gelsi.
Accompanied by a collection of Moog and Buchla gear, Gelsi is set to exploit the mammoth tones of the ten thousand pipe organ and its advanced sequencing capabilities to the fullest in what looks to be an unmissable event for any electronic boffin. It all goes down on Saturday March 13, and if you’re really keen, there’s even an album of the composition that drops on the same day as well.
RINSE – Wherever I Am
Drawing upon the likes of The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen and New Order, RINSE is the solo project of Joe Agius, who you might recognise as the frontman of The Creases and a close collaborator of Brisbane dream-pop sensation Hatchie. On Wherever I Am, Agius looks to step out and introduce listeners to a new side of his artistic pursuits, packing six tracks of cavernous, jangly indie-rock into his debut EP.
For fans of shimmering acoustics, dense reverbs, low-key songwriting and colourful textures, Wherever I Am will tickle you pink – listen to it in full when it drops on Friday March 5.
Liz Stringer – First Time Really Feeling
15 years on from her debut album Soon, Liz Stringer is gearing up to release her six full-length album First Time Really Feeling on Friday April 30.
The new record looks to be Stringer’s first solo release on new label Milk! Records after teaming up with Jen Cloher and Mia Dyson for 2019’s collaborative affair Dyson Stringer Cloher, and is spearheaded by lead single and title track ‘First Time Really Feeling’: a gut-wrenching track imbued with plucky guitars and some trademark Liz Stringer story-telling. Needless to say, this one will be a big one.
Big Scary – Daisy
One of the most beloved Australian indie acts of the 2010s, Big Scary are returning to release their fourth LP Daisy, out via Pie Eater / Inertia Music on Friday April 30.
For their first album in over four years, Jo Syme and Tom Iansek have decided to take a jittery sonic detour to concoct a totally new sound palate, adopting a DIY ethos that’s seen them toy with new approaches to writing, recording and how they want to release music, as well as being the first Big Scary album to feature no guitars. It’s been dubbed by the duo as their most playful album yet, and if jittery lead single ‘Stay’ is anything to go by, we’re going to have to agree with them on this one.
Jesswar – Tropixx
Rising Fijian / Australian rapper Jesswar experienced a phenomenal breakout year in 2020, and this year looks to only keep the ball rolling for the exciting new talent. After recently signing to Inertia Music / [PIAS] Recordings, Jesswar is set to release her debut EP TROPIXX into the world next week on Friday March 5. Led by singles ‘Venom’ and ‘Medusa’ – a furious trap record that sees Jesswar unleash on colonisers, capitalists and police in fine fashion – TROPIXX seeks to carve out a niche for Jesswar as one of the freshest identities within Australian hip-hop today.
Jaguar Jonze – Antihero
Not many Australian artists experienced 2020 quite like Jaguar Jonze did. After representing Australia at Eurovision (and dislocating her shoulder mid-performance), being among the first patients to be hospitalised with COVID-19 and instigating a seismic movement against a Melbourne photographer who had allegedly sexually harassed over 130 female artists, Jonze is now looking to release her sophomore EP Antihero: a brooding amalgamation of blues rock, sweeping strings and skittish electronics. Preceded by singles ‘DEADALIVE’, ‘MURDER’ and ‘ASTRONAUT’, Antihero arrives in full on Friday April 16 – listen to a taste of it below.
Check out more album and artist news from your favourite local artists here.