You only have to look at the overseas festival circuit to know that Australia is a musical hotspot. Glastonbury, Coachella, Primavera, Roskilde and more have seen Flume, The Preatures, Jagwar Ma, Courtney Barnett and Anna Lunoe grace the stage to hundreds of thousands of people this year, showing that Australia is no longer the isolated scene that it used to be.
Many of these artists came from humble beginnings. Courtney Barnett started out as a Triple J Unearthed artists and was still working at a pub in Melbourne only a year ago. Anna Lunoe rose up the Australian club scene ranks with party contingent, HOOPS, with Nina Las Vegas and Bad Ezzy. And Flume, do we really need to go there? Within the blink of an eye, hed gone from shy schoolboy to friend of Skrillex.
It was only two years ago that Gotye stormed the charts with Somebody That I Used To Know and shined a spotlight on Australia. From there, Tame Impala have become NME and Pitchfork favourites, Noel Gallagher has called Jagwar Ma the future of the galaxy and, dare I say, 5 Seconds of Summer have had the highest selling debut in the US of any Australian act.
At the end of 2012, NME called the Australian scene, easily the most exciting in the world, but two years later are we still? Below are six artists that we believe are the next to be snatched from this barren land and thrown into obscurity overseas.
This 19 year old firecracker needs little introduction. Weve already lauded her over a number of times on the interns and were not about to stop. Following her explosive single, Brontosaurus, shes captivated festival audiences with her pop-crossover raps which place her somewhere between Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks with more cool and less tantrum tendencies. Her latest track Uh-Huh is an expertly crafted pop tune with a sheen that beats just about everything at commercial radio right now. Unlike most hip-hop coming out of Australia she is accent-neutral and clearly understands the genres that are shining through internationally at the moment.
What theyre saying overseas: Well its Friday so lets crown a SONG OF THE WEEK. Its Tkay Maidzas U-Huh Popjustice
The duo of Marcus Whale and Travis Cook have been chipping away at it for a while but we feel theyre on the edge of their international break. Theyve been championing the RnB revival far before it was in vogue and their last album Die Young, is by any standards, superb. Theyre currently gearing up for the release of their next album, Return, and are embracing a more outright melodic pop sound as demonstrated by the first single, Turning. Its likely to make them more approachable for an international audience clamoring for anything that sounds remotely like the early 2000s. Last year, The Guardian called them one of The best Australian bands youve never heard of.
What theyre saving overseas: together they make some rather fine electronica-inflected R&B. The Guardian
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/collarbones/turning[/soundcloud]
Tiaan was born in Australia but shes currently residing in LA so shes already halfway there but it looks like this year may be the year she breaks out. If that is the case, we will, of course, hurry her back to the country for a victory run. We dont know a whole lot about her apart from the fact that shes just released two slices of effortless RnB in the way of, Clean and Devils Touch. The standout is the latter which combines the restraint of Jessie Ware with the sensuality of RnB contemporaries like Tinashe and Kelela. Its chorus slowly creeps up to you and then works away at your ears with a subtle but addictive melody. Theres a lot of people trying to emulate this sound right now and TIAAN nails it.
What theyre saying overseas: a super-smart, smartly sparse electronic R&B ‘jam’ that only a colossal idiot could fail to find completely beautiful. Popjustice
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tiaan-official/devils-touch[/soundcloud]
This central Victorian native has already been making some serious headway overseas this year, but his takeover should be even more extensive once he releases some music. His last release was his self-titled debut EP, released in 2013, which was built upon crunching guitar riffs and industrial percussion. The standout of that was, Tropical Oceans which centred around his heavenly vocal riff. Since that release hes played SXSW, impressing NME and NPR and hes signed to 4AD Records which is home to artists like Bon Iver and St. Vincent. Hes set to take on Australias version of SXSW, BIGSOUND, next month to further spread his influence.
What theyre saying overseas: Mystery seems to swirl around D.D. Dumbo…its hard to nail down his influences. NPR
Were going out on a limb with this one given that Maple hasnt released any formal solo material since last years seductive, Fixed but that was enough for us to know Maple is something special. Shes currently living over in London with her heart clearly set on overseas success. Many may not know it but shes already been casting her spell over an Australian audience with her features on tracks by Flume and Goldroom in the past year. She can be distinguished by smokey low-register and the ability to reach giddy heights when she draws her notes out. Just last week she was back in the country touring with Little Dragon as her first official gig since signing with Future Classic. Given Future Classic have had a hand in crafting the careers of Jagwar Ma and Flume, we think shes in safe hands.
What theyre saying overseas? Fixed, is an earworm that emphasizes Maple’s tender, warm register. Pitchfork
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/george-maple/george-maple-fixed[/soundcloud]
At the tender age of 17 Gab Strum, aka. Japanese Wallpaper has already made a few fans. His track, Breathe In, was chosen to feature in Zach Braffs film Wish I Was Here alongside tracks by Bon Iver and Cat Power and hes also been chosen as the winner of Triple Js Unearthed High. His tracks are atmospheric, lush creations that are comfortable by lulling at a low tempo. Breathe In which features Brisbane vocalist, WAFIA, is an inspiring production. It twinkles with bedroom keys in the middle section and floats into dense instrumentation in the latter part. For a young producer, he has an impressive confidence that allows him to play things at his own pace and in the meantime mesmerize thousands. That kind of charm is likeable far beyond just Australia.
What theyre saying overseas? Theres something oddly warming in his sound which has managed to grab a good number of ears. Earmilk
[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/japanesewallpaper/breathe-in-ft-wafia[/soundcloud]