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The next Australian artists to make it overseas

Written By Sam Murphy on 08/27/2014

 

aussieartistsYou 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, he’d 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.

Tkay Maidza

This 19 year old firecracker needs little introduction. We’ve already lauded her over a number of times on the interns and we’re not about to stop. Following her explosive single, Brontosaurus, she’s 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 they’re saying overseas:  “Well it’s Friday so let’s crown a SONG OF THE WEEK. It’s Tkay Maidza’s ‘U-Huh’” Popjustice

Collarbones

The duo of Marcus Whale and Travis Cook have been chipping away at it for a while but we feel they’re on the edge of their international break. They’ve been championing the RnB revival far before it was in vogue and their last album Die Young, is by any standards, superb. They’re 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. It’s 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 you’ve never heard of’.

What they’re 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

Tiaan was born in Australia but she’s currently residing in LA so she’s 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 don’t know a whole lot about her apart from the fact that she’s just released two slices of effortless RnB in the way of, Clean and Devil’s 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. There’s a lot of people trying to emulate this sound right now and TIAAN nails it.

What they’re 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]

D.D. Dumbo

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 he’s played SXSW, impressing NME and NPR and he’s signed to 4AD Records which is home to artists like Bon Iver and St. Vincent. He’s set to take on Australia’s version of SXSW, BIGSOUND, next month to further spread his influence.

What they’re saying overseas: “Mystery seems to swirl around D.D. Dumbo…it’s hard to nail down his influences.” NPR

George Maple

We’re going out on a limb with this one given that Maple hasn’t released any formal solo material since last year’s seductive, Fixed but that was enough for us to know Maple is something special. She’s currently living over in London with her heart clearly set on overseas success. Many may not know it but she’s 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 she’s in safe hands.

What they’re 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]

Japanese Wallpaper

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 Braff’s film Wish I Was Here alongside tracks by Bon Iver and Cat Power and he’s also been chosen as the winner of Triple J’s 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 they’re saying overseas? “There’s 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]

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