Fabulous new releases by Queensland artists this summer
Colloquially coined The Sunshine State (hey, it’s even on some of our number plates…), Queensland is renowned for tropical weather, and with summer on our doorstep, this fine state of ours is more than ready for a carefree season of fun. It wouldn’t be summer without tremendous tunes though, and that’s where the talented local artists who call Queensland home come in. Whether you’re at the beach, taking a road trip or holed up inside with the air conditioner on, it’s time to soak up these golden new releases by The Sunshine State’s own like a frilly neck lizard basking in the glorious summer sun.
The brilliant display of fireflies Ella Fence unexpectedly witnessed while taking a break at a creek in Queensland’s picturesque Scenic Rim served as the inspiration for her reflective new single, Firefly. Captivated by the majesty of the scene, the Gold Coast alt-rocker picked up her guitar and started composing the song’s vocal melody. A sublime musical journey whirling with hypnotic vocals, Firefly is a downbeat and slow-tempo trip that feels like a Zen tablet for the mind. Together with her American producer Scott Campbell (known for working with pop-rockers Katy Perry, Alanis Morissette and Stevie Nicks), they incorporated synth, keys, drums, bass guitar, and a dash of dreaminess, transforming the song into an incredibly mellow beauty that captures the peace of being at one with nature in solitude.
Mardi Wilson’s final single of 2022, Turquoise Love, is a delectable slow burn that invites listeners to put their doubts about love to rest and embrace the freedom that comes with deep connection. Produced by Garrett Kato and mixed by Paul Blakey, Turquoise Love is based on the Brisbane native’s personal experiences, carrying on her tradition of telling frank and enlightening stories. Acknowledging that joy exists in both the single lane and coupledom, Mardi says the highs and lows of the latter have been some of the most terrifying yet beautiful adventures of her life. A sweet ode to significant others and the surprises and growth that loving them can bring, Turquoise Love reminds us that we can never have too much love in our lives. So, pop this gem on and let love in!
Brisbane indie-rockers Babaganouj return with What Planet Do You Come From, the lead single from their long-awaited debut album Jumbo Pets (slated for release early 2023). A flawless fusion of etheric dream-pop and exuberant indie rock, What Planet Do You Come From is a triumphant comeback teeming with softly simmering instrumentation, detached vocals and subtle harmonies that explode into a vibrant chorus atop fierce riffs and irresistible hooks. Forming in 2011, the band generated a lot of attention in the Australian scene before they went on hiatus. From their new release it’s easy to see that their time away working on their respective individual projects has only strengthened their prowess as a quartet. Babaganouj are bringing their classic flavour to a new era, and fans – old and new – will be lapping this one up like a Pina Colada on a hot summer’s day.
Brisbane duo Alta Falls’ new single I’m At A Loss is an upbeat electro-pop number that tangoes with the grips of uncertainty. It’s a shimmering, energetic tune that comes in waves, rising and crashing just so, sonically capturing the overpowering sense of being lost in the unknown yet breathing in the present and hoping for the best. Lead vocalist Nathanael says the inspiration for the lyrics came from the band’s fans. He asked them what “I’m at a loss” meant to them and used their answers to write the lyrics. Produced by Aidan Hogg and engineer Jordan Bain this latest offering from Alta Falls builds up to their second EP which is set to feature their signature synth charm, insightful prose, and danceable beats. A glittering array of pop rock poise, this sonic jewel has mainstream appeal.
LUUNG is capping off the year strong with his atmospheric ballad Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye. The artist’s combination of minimalist pop and folk, along with his characteristic falsetto, creates an entrancing and immersive aural world. Influenced by figures like LANY and Andrew Belle, the choruses expand into a wall of sumptuous guitar and a looping percussion pattern while the verses are contained and intimate, mirroring a melancholy recurrent phrase. Glistening in reverb, the lyrics depict the tug-of-war that occurs when two individuals yearn for one another. Like a massage for your brainwaves and heartbeat, Goodbye Goodbye Goodbye evokes shivers down your spine of the good kind.
On sun-soaked single Bloom, Gold Coast rockers Peach Fur deliver a different kind of goodness. Lifted from their forthcoming album Earth Radio, Bloom was composed in one week and features Saint Lane along with Caleb McNab on keyboard. It’s the group’s first rap tune, providing a preview of the eclectic genres and ideas that will be featured on their next record. Lyrically the track speaks to the liberation that comes after splitting up with a romantic partner and finding a fresh sense of self. Known for their catchy tunes and electrifying live performances, Peach Fur’s latest instalment oozes flair.
Strap in for an emotive experience on Gold Coast troubadour Eimhin’s delicately quaint new single She Met My Eyes. In the tradition of legends like Virgin Prunes, David Bowie, and Harry Styles, Eimhin questions the status quo, celebrating his divine femininity through gender-nonconforming attire and raw lyricism. Building on the foundations of previous single Lately, Eimhin’s latest track moves through tender and regretful moments before ending with an unsettling scenario of lovers frantically attempting to keep their relationship from ending. She Met My Eyes poignantly unpacks the experience of trying to save a failing relationship where both parties just end up appeasing each other rather than facing the reality that they no longer have a future together. Lush instrumentation and harrowing vocal lines are sure to tug at your heart strings on this indie-folk rock musing.
Just like a cup of caffeine has the dual capacity to pacify a dwindling mood or lift a euphoric one to new heights, KOOLZ’s pared-back version of her previously released single Coffee, gloriously offers a distinct experience from the earlier version. Transposing the sprightly disposition of the somewhat indie-pop flavoured original track into an RnB-tinged slow burn, the latter invokes the overall theme of self-reflection through a more introspective lens, providing listeners with a comforting space to unpack whatever thoughts come up for them. Layering dense strings and delay-doused chords give the song a more atmospheric feel, making the alternative version of Coffee a softer Yin to the original’s perky Yang. Pop your coffee machine on, put your headphones in and enjoy this one with a steaming cup of joe when in need of a quiet piece of escapism.
Worried about the state of the world? So are Brisbane rockers The Comfort. On their latest single The Portal, the band let loose with the fierce vocals of Deadlights’ Dylan Davidson and a tsunami of existential fury that simultaneously ponders the meaning of life while accepting its insignificance. The final sample of their new album Experience Everything. Live And Die, the band’s new track sonically manages to mimic the very internal conflict it explores, making for an enthralling listening experience that picks you up and makes you question everything before hurtling you back to a sobering reality that can no longer be ignored. A potent force, give The Portal your full attention and it could open doors to new thoughts where there were once only walls.
A soft spot for early 2000s guitar punk pop ala Blink 182 meets a Montagues-versus-Capulets state of mind on Lounge’s infectious new single A Grader. These Brisbane newcomers have wasted no time with A Grader coming in as their fourth single since their inception in early 2021. It’s a buoyant number that delves into the seemingly destructive habit young people (and often society in general) have of dividing themselves into polarising cliques – the cliched “cool kids” versus the “losers.” One enamoured with feeding their vanity through superficial validation and the other besotted by their outsider status. Mellow verses that segue into a catchy sing-along chorus, driving drums and the saccharine vocals of front man Oskar Campbell combine into a power anthem that encapsulates the futility and exuberance of youth. In the best way possible this one deserves a spin on the DJ’s turntable at the next high school disco.
Alt-rock lords Muules serve up an opulent portion of post-grunge fervour in their latest single, Against Your Own Kind. Featuring effects-drenched bass, big drums, and Nathan Vasey’s impassioned vocal delivery the track generates a tension-fuelled soundscape to reflect a neurodivergent individuals’ perspective of self-worth in relationships. On Against Your Own Kind, Royal Blood, Soundgarden, and early Incubus are key influences, creating a riff-heavy and melodic excursion. Bassist Rhys Fox produced the track alongside Ty Bain on mixing and Paul Blakey on mastering duties. A peek at the band’s long-awaited debut album, Against Your Own Kind is a bold, angst-ridden, and frenetic piece that is easy to keep on repeat.
Charismatically mesmerising, Brisbane’s Kaypo warms the senses with his new acoustic guitar driven gem Help Me Out. Glistening with honeyed vocals and lush composition that evolves over the course of the song, Help Me Out is a heartfelt plea of seeking a lover who can see beyond, and is accepting of, our flaws. Kaypo’s piece is unique yet accessible, blending melodic sensibility with lyrical intuition, matching his personal accounts of heartbreak and the human condition with smooth guitar work. More magic is added to the track by renowned producer Stuart Stuart (The Veronicas, Sheppard), giving it a delectable pop panache that elevates it to earworm status.
Sunny Coast rockers chAMBER LANe take whiffs of nostalgia and a grass-is-greener attitude on their rollicking new tune Familiar Faces. A coming-of-age anthem, Familiar Faces sees the band on the precipice between teendom and adulthood, realising that now is the time to get out, enjoy life and make memories that will eventually become their “good ol’ days.” It’s the age-old enigma of wanting to relive past while knowing you should plant your feet firmly in the here and now. Pulsing drums, driving guitars and electric vocals from front man Connor makes for a seismic journey that’ll have you embracing the ebb and flow of life.
Queensland royalty DZ Deathrays have gifted us all a banger in new single Paranoid, a fast-paced anthem with syncopated rhythms, buzzing feedback, and a fierce chorus. DZ’s sound pervades the song, with strong double and triple-octave riff instrumentals echoing the lyrics: “Oi, oi, ya paranoid, hanging at the back waiting to get destroyed.” The tune has allusions to traditional Aussie rock, such as percussive built-up entrances, howling vocals, and pounding repetition, proving DZ Deathrays’ enduring ability to create carnage-inducing riffage. Lyrically, Paranoid covers self-doubt in various facets of life; wanting to take a specific path but holding yourself back or placing roadblocks in the way. It’s a ripper that continues to cement DZ’s status as one of the country’s hottest post-punk acts.
Big Blue Eyes levels up on etheric new indie-pop goodie Pockets featuring Eloelo. A vulnerable heartbreak duet, the vocal harmonies between Big Blue Eyes (aka Ryan Smart) and Eloelo are pure bliss. A gentle throb of instrumentation provides a soft and spectacular backdrop for this glowing ballad that traverses broken hearts and moving on from the things you cling to from past relationships. With a punchy chorus that will get stuck in your head with lines like “empty my pockets, empty my mind,” Pockets is a rich tapestry; a piece of ear candy to spin again and again.
Centred on the heady feeling of falling for someone while being unsure if you can let your guard down, Sunshine Coast duo Betty Taylor’s debut single Stallin’ is an alluring ray of indie-pop sunshine. The project of Sophie Patrick and Kayla Smart, Betty Taylor meld catchy hooks and melancholic guitar grooves with a pulsating dance rhythm, waves of synths and sincere lyrics to create a track that is relatable, effervescent, and charming. Airy vocals from both women weave together into seamlessly stunning harmonies that hit the musical sweet spot. Produced by Aidan Hogg and mixed by Sean Cook (who has worked with the likes of Kimbra), Stallin’ is a robust debut that showcases the duo’s musicality, further complemented by first class production. Put Betty Taylor on your 2023 radar!
Uplifting. Wholesome. Emotive. Lewis McKee has penned the best kind of tune for the holiday season in Coming Home (and no, it’s not a Christmas carol!). Melding country rock, blues and acoustic pop, Coming Home is a stirring number about the elation one feels returning to their hometown. With the initial draft written some years ago, the final version of Coming Home was shaped through live acoustic performances. Produced by Albatross Media in Bundaberg, the song captures and evokes nostalgia, awe, and affectionate memories. So, if you’re heading home for the holiday season (or at any time), this is the track to blast as you careen down the highway or fly through the skies. As Dorothy would say, there’s no place like home, and Lewis McKee’s new single sums up that sentiment flawlessly.
“Thoughts and prayers they just don’t cut, tell me when is enough?” It’s a sobering line for a solemn situation on Harry J Hart’s touching new release Enough Is Enough. Taking aim at gun violence and the laws that have not been altered to minimise the occurrence of such horrific acts, Enough Is Enough is a heart wrenching listen. The devastation and destruction of the 2018 Parkland shooting in America moved the young Gold Coast artist to pen the track with his vulnerable but stern vocals echoing the plight of many. It’s a message that needs to be heard and Harry J Hart delivers it with strength, integrity, and compassion.
SIZZLING SONGS OF SUMMER 2023 PLAYLIST
Monthly Munchies is a monthly compilation of the best new single releases by Queensland acts. Updated Weekly.