Gordi’s music is pretty zeitgeisty – it’s got strummy acoustics, earnest vocals, easy-to-read hooks and a touch of production grandiosity. In less savvy hands, this combination would make for tiresome listening. But Gordi excels in her awareness that less is more, and there’s no need to ham up the sentimentality. She plays it cool, which is precisely what draws you in.
Ramblin’ Folk Pop
Darren Hanlon is a reliable presence in the Australian music scene. He’s been at it for well over a decade, his album releases have been frequent, and he’s never too far away from a stage near you. But it’d all to amount nothing if the bloke weren’t such an astute tunesmith with an eye for detail and knack for re-rendering melodies you’ve heard countless times before.
We’ve experienced a pretty hefty wave of slacker indie rock in Oz over the last few years. We’re now coming out the other side, and only a handful of the hopefuls survive – which, of course, was inevitable. Speaking of survivors, Sydney outfit Smudge released a run of quietly excellent indie rock LPs through the ‘90s, and they’re now touring to honour the 21st anniversary of their ’94 debut, Manilow.
Jonny Telafone is a weirdo, no secrets there. But he doesn’t use his off-kilter personality as a crutch. He might have a crooked outlook, but he’s still committed to making enduring music. His 2015 LP Romeo Must Cry is an exercise in melodrama and self-loathing, but not for a second do you doubt Telafone’s sincerity.
It’s a damp world Grinding Eyes inhabit – a dive bar so depraved the authorities have chosen to ignore it. From these surrounds, the band mark a trail through freewheeling krautrock and unhinged psychedelia.
When she’s not fronting Australia’s sultriest exponents of heat beat, No Zu, the Melbourne-based Becky Sui Zhen spends her time making wonderfully engaging electronic pop music. Her recently released Secretly Susan LP roams through underwater intrigue, curious seduction and podium straddling pop extroversion.
Set Mo ain’t going to blow your head off with electronic inventiveness. And really that’s not the path they’re on. The Sydney duo makes pleasing, uncomplicated house music, which is regularly given a lick of extra-satisfaction by such smooth vocalists as Alphamama and Joyride.
SABROSA SOUND SYSTEM
As Sabrosa Sound System, DJs PepeSol & Paprika uncover the communal, party-starting folk music traditions stemming from the Caribbean islands, the many ineffably unique nations of Africa, and Latin America. Their performances endeavour to get you moving by re-presenting original recordings with live percussion and analogue sound system effects.
Afrovival are purveyors of resplendently easy-going music. Given its roots in African folk musics, it’s highly percussive. However, it adopts a more relaxing pace – more Sunday afternoon by the pool than insistent on high energy movement.
Bush Gothic. It’s all there in the name. The Aussie bush, which is to say a measureless extent of land, as rugged as it is beautiful. And gothic, an aesthetic subculture renowned for its austerity and focus on death. Bush Gothic.