Julia Jacklin, the Smith Street Band and AB Original: the best new Australian music of September | Culture

Julia Jacklin – Too In Love To Die

For fans of: Doris Day, Nancy Sinatra, Lana Del Rey

Halfway through Julia Jacklin’s third album, Pre Pleasure, comes the emotional linchpin of the LP: a sparse spiritual track driven by a lonely organ and Jacklin’s declaration of a love so powerful it can inoculate against death. Sequenced directly after the pop rush of lead single I Was Neon, Too in Love to Die commands all the attention with Jacklin’s wide-eyed emotion.

“If I got out on the freeway, all the cars would spin around me like a dance, and here on Earth I would stay,” she sings, tempting the universe. It’s a beautiful thought – love as the ultimate bulwark against the cruel indifference of the world. “It’s surely love like this that keeps us alive,” Jacklin concludes, and I want to believe it.

For more: Pre Pleasure is now available. Jacklin will tour Australia in February.

AB Original – King Billy Cokebottle

For fans of: Public Enemy, Run the Jewels, Ice Cube

King Billy Cokebottle was the racist creation of Louis Beers, who became one of Australia’s most successful comedians in the 1980s by donning a black face in a highly offensive impersonation of an Aboriginal man. AB Original’s scorching new track, their first in nearly four years, is a stark reminder that not only was Beers big business until recently (with Sony Music Australia was releasing and selling their albums until not too long ago), but that ignorance has remained in modern media through the likes of Chris Lilley and the shocking 2009 blackface incident on Hey Hey It’s Saturday.

With a hard-hitting beat, Briggs and Trials take aim at the racist tropes embedded in Australian humor from the larrikin, as well as those attending Black Lives Matter and other protests for social currency, who “walk the streets, like and retweet for the week”. Six years after their groundbreaking debut album Reclaim Australia, a follow-up is long overdue.

For more: AB Original is supporting Hilltop Hoods on a national tour and will release a second single in November.

WAAX – Beach of the Sirens

For fans of: the Saints, the Kills, Sad13

What begins as a bereavement becomes a festive and cathartic explosion on WAAX’s Mermaid Beach

Mermaid Beach is really two songs. First, a 90-second ambient piece with a throbbing bass line and shimmering piano as Marie DeVita sings about her small town, where only tourists seem to stay, and her ex-boyfriend’s house still occupies an important place in the landscape. “I’ve never been so sad in my life, but I’ve never danced so much,” the song goes, before drums and distorted guitars kick in, and the familiar roar of the voice of DeVita only pitches the track in its second half.

Somehow, the second time around, her dancing statements sound more triumphant, the beach seems less victim to pollution and changing demographics, and the lyrics become celebratory. She is sad but she cries; she is sad, but she is dancing. Sometimes it’s like that.

For more: WAAX’s second album, At Least I’m Free, is out now.

Stella Donnelly – Medals

For fans of: Bill Callahan, Clairo, Clare Bowditch

“You get a lot of medals for someone who loses,” begins Donnelly’s incisive character study of someone who celebrates their past victories, who yells at TV and scares their roommates with loud, uninformed opinions. Medals is one of many standout tracks from Donnelly’s second album, Flood. A leap forward from 2019’s killer debut Beware of the Dogs, this record was written during the pandemic on piano – instead of Donnelly’s usual guitar – and the songs feel less judgmental and more open to possibility. of real change; a balm rather than the instant gratification of protest songs. The final 90 seconds give way to a fading outro with a seductive saxophone solo, the type last heard on a yacht vacation in the 80s, and a chorus of wordless “lalalas” dancing this light and dreamy song until a beautiful conclusion.

For more: Flood is out now.

Stella Donnelly stands in front of a microphone holding a pink guitar and wearing a blue shirt
“A balm rather than the instant gratification of protest songs.” Stella Donnelly performing at Primavera Sound in Spain this year. Photography: Jim Bennett/Redferns

Tropical Fuck Storm – Moonburn

For fans of: the Bad Seeds, the Gun Club, the Drones

Moonburn once again sees Gareth Liddiard’s Tropical Fuck Storm project go beyond the sometimes limited palette of his very famous group, the Drones. Again, there’s sheer inventiveness to the arrangement, with the melody falling apart halfway through and never really coming back together. Wobbly backing from the all-female rhythm section, pushing and pulling like the seasoned act that they are, transforms this glorious cacophony into a pumping, heart-pounding masterpiece. Moonburn is a standalone single, backed by a cover of the Stooges’ Ann, and its cassette release makes sense for a track that sounds like it’s already been left on the car’s dashboard to melt away.

For more: Moonbeam, with three bonus B-sides, is available now.

Jack River – Real Life

For fans of: Kylie Minogue, Len, Madonna

A woman with long hair is sitting in a red sports car
Pure and sweet pop: Real Life by Jack River. Photography: Laura Smith

This song sounds like a lookalike of Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger. Or maybe it’s Express Yourself? In fact, it might be Kylie Minogue’s Step Back in Time, or something Primal Scream back when they discovered the joys of sunny dance anthems. Holly Rankin has long been a sonic chameleon when it comes to her Jack River production, but this is the farthest she’s wandered into pure, sweet pop. Rankin speaks-sings the verses, his Aussie accent coming through clearly, while an incredibly catchy chorus that feels tailor-made for this summer’s Coke campaign splits cheesy horn samples and dance floor choruses.

For more: Check out his 2020 EP Stranger Heart, or We Are the Youth from last year.

Yirrmal – Promised Land

For fans of: Colin Hay, Paul Kelly, Vika and Linda

Yirrmal Marika can sing mostly in her traditional Yolngu language, but you will understand. One of the most arresting voices in Australian music, Yirrmal is best known to the general public as the singer behind the hooks to Baker Boy’s breakthrough single Marryuna and 2021’s remarkable Ride. Her artistic lineage is beyond reproach: his father sang and danced in Yothu Yindi, while his grandfather was the leader of this group and the Australian of the year 1992, Dr Yunupingu. Yirrmal follows this great tradition with the sweet Promised Land, a beautiful duet with Dami Im where the duo exchange nostalgic verses over a backing track that sounds like the ocean – with swelling slides, cymbals crashing like rocks. waves and saxophone licks peeling off the salty, summer air.

For more: Check out previous singles Get Happy and Dhaliwuy Bay.

Yirrmal playing Darwin in 2019
Yirrmal performs in Darwin in 2019. The saxophone roams ‘the salty summer air’ in his new single Promised Land. Photography: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

The Smith Street Band – Everyone lies to you for money

For fans of: Gas Hymn, Shining Eyes, Bikini Kill

Wil Wagner has never sounded so low, in many senses of the word. With his voice lowered to sound like a bad sci-fi robot, he repeats the song’s title mantra before a 4/4 beat kicks in and he begins to detail his attempts to deal with his mania with medication, some of which made him nauseous. , while others were “more like ketamine”.

He alludes to recent attempts to dismantle his career: “Did I have ideas above my station? Was it just public relations? — and it doesn’t take much internet research to deduce the object of his contempt. Wagner turned his own denouement into a vicious song that ranks among the band’s finest works. A sixth studio album is coming soon, and it’s safe to say it’s going to be an emotional affair.

For more: The Smith Street Band completes a national tour, with concerts on September 16 at Marlin in Ulladulla and September 17 at Kambri in Canberra.

Ella Hooper – Old News

For fans of: Jason Isbell, Kasey Chambers, Gillian Welch

On Ella Hooper’s 17th birthday, Killing Heidi’s mascara hit No. 1 in Australia, catapulting the teenager to a level of national fame she hasn’t shaken in two decades. An unearthly songwriting talent with a distinctive voice and hairstyle, Hooper now admits she once felt compelled to apologize for her overnight success. “I had a complicated relationship with my career, but I don’t feel paralyzed by it anymore,” she said in press for her new single.

Old News couldn’t be further from the digital futurism of its early hits. It’s an airy slice of Americana driven by fingerpicking guitar with a distinct slide that howls like a wolf on a lonely highway, and Hooper’s rich, honeyed voice. “If they say you’re old news, they’re still talking about you,” she sings, dismissing the trends and cycles her career has gone through. It is Hooper’s first song in four years and the first single from an upcoming solo album.

For more: Hooper is touring Australia in October and November.

The Church – The Hypnogogue

Through 25 studio albums and four decades of uncompromising production, the Church has proven to be the institution its name suggests. Fair weather fans are familiar with a handful of the band’s radio stables, such as Under the Milky Way or The Unguarded Moment, but these act as anomalies for a band that excels in spacious creations such as new single The Hypnogogue. – an atmospheric six-minute dive with flanged guitars croaking like an army of frogs, Steve Kilbey’s baritone resonating majestically, and layers of psychedelic instrumentation pushing and pulling against the backbeat’s waltzing shuffle. It’s the first Church music since 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity, and points the way to even more experimentation this time around.

For more: The Church will make a national tour this month, starting in Perth on September 1.

Comments are closed.