Stray Straya: Best New Tunes From Down Under

From hip-hop to electronica, R&B and beyond, here are some of Howl & Echoes’ favourite new all-Australian singles and videos. Enjoy!

Gold Class, Kids on Fire

I’ve been slow on the uptake with Gold Class, but they’re kicking ass right now and absolutely worth all the hype. Having built a reputation as an incredible live act, they’ve been laying low in the studio, now returning with the first taste of their new album, recorded at Tropical Fuckstorm Studios, presumably property of The Drones‘ own Tropical Fuckstorm Records.

I love the rumbling richness of vocalist, pared with the sparsity of the backing riffs and rhythm. The overall atmosphere has a classic sentiment, but it’s ripped up and dragged into 2016 by those chorus peaks – wild, refined chaos.

Hit up their socials for upcoming tour dates and more.

Anfa Rose, T.I.W.H (Prod. Dopamine)

Hearing amazing R&B from our own shores isn’t as rare as it once was; the bountiful harvest of seductive crooners is a warmly welcomed addition to the Australian musical landscape. With that, it’s exciting to learn that a new hip-hop-focused imprint has been founded by the one and only Miracle, known as WVS (Waves). Newcomer Anfa Rose‘s T.I.W.H, produced by the ever-talented Dopamine is the first official release. Devastating pianos are quickly brightened by Morrocan-born Rose’s velvety lilt. A hint of auto-tune and a big, brassy beat give it a sharp edge; this is slick. Really slick.

Follow WVS here and get ready for a new WV of Australian aural ambrosia.

All Our Exes Live in Texas, The Devil’s Part

Aside from having one of the best names in the game, All Our Exes Live in Texas have just released one of the best, darkest folk tracks I’ve heard all year. The Devil’s Part has a brooding, chilling tang to it, what with its blend of the tinny, almost Kate Bush-esque vocals and thinly flickered guitars. There’s a melodramatic spin to the overall atmosphere, almost cinematic in nature. Harmonised choruses in folk often make or break a tune for me (those bright singalong phrases often feel so weak), but it fits this track like a perfect, blood-stained glove. Coupled with a beautiful video courtesy of Nils Crompton, I didn’t want this one to end.

The band are gearing up to release debut album We May in February 2017, ahead of which they’re embarking on a major national tour – details here.

A.B Original, January 26

Without a shadow of a doubt, A.B.Original are my favourite Australian act to emerge in 2016. I cannot remember when I found a new Australian act whose songs I literally play on repeat because they’re so good that I just can’t follow it up with anything else. The combination of Briggs and Trials is fucking dynamite and I genuinely can’t stop listening. Intelligent, conscious, self-aware lyrics? Check. Slick, often hilarious rhymes? You got it. Heavy as fuck beats and deep, bouncing bass? Bingo.

Featuring the one and only Dan Sultan, January 26 is the latest in a slew of smart, catchy as hell spits that actually make you stop and think. As you might guess, the track explains exactly why having Australia Day on January 26 is frustrating, offensive, and insulting to so many Indigenous Australians. Listen and learn, folks.

Moon Holiday, Out of Bounds

Oooof. Moon Holiday’s been around for more than five years now, and her output keeps getting better. Real name Alex Ward, she has now teamed up with production two-piece Cliques (George Nicholas of Seekae and Hamish Dixon) for this gorgeous late-night single. Out of Bounds track drips with seduction and sensuality, playing with sound and sparsity to a precise tee, with layers of sound and emotion waxing and waning around that big, shuffling rhythm.

Evocative and interesting, her voice is absolutely one of my favourites in Australian electronic scene right now. Coupled with such carefully arranged instrumentation and production that uses space as cleverly as it does the sounds the between it, this is a really sublime new number.

One for the bedroom playlist.

Tour dates with Rainbow Chan here.

Fascinator, Skin Within

New York-based, Australia born Fascinator has returned with an incredibly catchy new track, Skin Within, the first new music since debut album Man. It’s trippy and summery, sure, but it maintains a driving bass that’s deep and heavy enough to keep it grounded, so it doesn’t get lost among the lo-fi clouds. I love the instrumentation, the diversity of sounds and textures blended in to give this such a full, lush sound.

In all honesty, I found the muffled vocals to be the weakest layer; the immense instrumental tones are hypnotic and mesmerising, a very on-trend blend of warbled psychedelia and thumping electronica. Overall, this track is bloody wonderful.

Lanks, Holla

Finally today, we’ve got a new tune from the incredibly talented Melbourne artist Lanks. Holla is the first track from his upcoming EP, Viet Rose, out October 14. If this is anything to go by (and we’re assuming it is), then we’re in for a very special treat. While the core of this track is smooth, understated electronica, it’s the embellishments and added layers that take it to another level. Warbled vocal samples and big, choppy synths pepper the soundscape, and later softened by a beautiful guitar melody.

The EP was named after Lanks’ favourite Melbourne laksa joint, co-produced by Andrei Eremin, and featuring collaborations with Tom Iansek, Airling and more.

Head to Lanks’ Facebook for upcoming tour dates and more.


Image: Moon Holiday – supplied