If there’s anything that showcases the resilience and creativity of the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers music scene right now, it’s this month’s new music column. From newcomers to old hands, the region’s musicians have thumbed their noses at the crippling pandemic and applied their talents to producing a range of fabulous new tunes, complied by our own Zac Fahey for your listening pleasure. Enjoy.
Alisha Todd is has proven herself as one of the Gold Coast’s most prolific artists of the past 12 months with multiple releases under her own name, a COVID-inspired musical podcast series and various side projects along the way. Her latest offering with Volcanic Lovers titled ‘Alone – Live in Mullum’ soulfully blends RnB, jazz and blues together while displaying Todd’s amazing vocal range and the live band’s insane technical proficiency. The track is so well preformed and recorded that it’s almost hard to believe it could have been delivered live; it’s only the crowd cheering in the background that gives it away. Keep an eye on the band’s socials for some live videos to be released this month from the same magical Mullum performance.
Slips & The F.W.’s Take You Back In Time
Slips & The F.W.’s are doing an excellent job of diversifying the traditional ’sound’ of the Gold Coast with this fascinating, left-of-centre debut album ’SUGOI’. Titled after the Japanese word for ‘Wow’, the 13 track LP lives up to its namesake, offering an excellent selection of old time jazz/blues ditties that will take you back to 1920s prohibition times. Recorded in a converted barn/studio setup in regional Queensland using just three microphones, Slips & The F.W.’s debut album authentically captures an era long forgotten.
Javan Kai Channels Early John Mayer
Javan Kai is another brand new artist to hit the airwaves this month and he does so in style with this pocket rocket of a debut single ‘Cigarettes & Red Wine’. A well written tune complete with a full backing band and some impressive production, the song seamlessly mixes raw blues sensibilities with timeless pop melodies reminiscent of early John Mayer. We don’t know much about Javan Kai, but he has us on the edge of our seats with this excellent debut.
Erban Refugee Tease Forthcoming Album
First forming back in 2018, local 90s rock inspired three-piece Erban Refugee have finally given us some recorded music to wrap our ears around. Their debut single ‘Gone’ was recorded at Byron Bay Sound Lounge studios with producer Michael Stavrou and is the first offering from a full-length album in the works. Written about bewilderment, perplexion and disbelief, ‘Gone’ is yet another artistic reflection on the current state of the world.
Kobrakai Grunge Things Up
Self-proclaimed grungy desert rockers Kobrakai are certainly bringing a fair amount of grunge and rock to the table with their epic new single ‘Fathoms’. Written as a dark commentary on the state of the world, the lyrics delve into the importance of water and how big corporations are sucking us dry of the stuff – “Water is life and you’re draining away, To leave us with nothing but utter decay”. The classic combo of huge meaty-sounding drums alongside powerful harmonised guitar riffs is sure to inspire some healthy head banging or at least have you raising your horns to the sky in protest.
Regan Hickey Finds Inspiration In Chaos
Regan Hickey has outdone himself over quarantine with an artistically brilliant body of work titled ‘i don’t like sitting at home’. Four simply titled tracks literally spell out the name of the EP and span seamlessly over an eight-minute sonic expression of lyricless funk-jazz fusion. Ironically recorded while actually sitting at home in his studio, Regan Hickey’s release is yet another nugget of creative goodness that seems to have been directly inspired by the chaos of COVID.
Akurei’s Groove Heavy EP
Akurei has a lot to be excited about this month. Not only has he released an exceptional three track EP but he’s also teamed up with good friend and Australian music heavyweight Golden Vessel to launch a co-owned independent record label called sumoclic. The groove heavy release is jam packed with smooth melodies and warm synths, but it’s the stunning vocals that truly steal the show. With all of the tracks coming in under three minutes it’s lucky that Akurei has a lot more in store for us for the rest of 2020 because he’s left us hungry for more.
Josh King Hits The Mark
Josh King has released his third single of 2020 this month with the uplifting and aptly titled ’Back Out Again’. Hitting the mark perfectly by describing his sound as new age pop, Josh has a knack of building intensity with layered guitars, vocal harmonies and lush synths. Taking the same singer-songwriter/pop crossover formula that was brought to life internationally by Ed Sheeran and locally by artists like Dean Lewis, Josh King is preaching to the choir here with his own take on this hugely popular genre.
Joe Moloney Had A Big Night
Recent graduate from TAFE Queensland’s Diploma Of Music, Joe Moloney has just released his first single after two years of honing his skills at the Coomera campus. ‘Weekend Blues’ is refreshingly different to anything else being released on the Gold Coast at the moment and takes a young working class lad’s approach to a classic blues/country song structure. Honest lyrics delivered with a harsh Aussie accent transports the listener into Joe’s world as he regrets the decisions he made over a long weekend of debauchery. With more new material on the way we look forward to what this surprisingly charming new artist has to offer over the coming months.
George’s Double Dose
Tijuana Cartel are back! The much loved flamenco guitar-wielding, progressive electronic party starters have given us the first taste of their forthcoming record in the form of a seven minute epic journey titled ‘Minimal Stuffing’. The hypnotic track walks a fine line between something you would put on while relaxing in your hammock or listen to at 2am during an all-time bender. One of the few bands that have live shows on the horizon, you can catch the genre bending three-piece hypnotizing the masses on 29 August at The Zoo in Brisbane. And if you want to continue your electronic flamenco journey even further, take a listen to Black Rabbit George’s new single ‘Fingers Radio’; the side project from Tijuana Cartel’s front man Paul George.
Izzy Day Springs Into Motion
Cutting her teeth playing countless shows around Gold Coast’s local haunts over the past few years Izzy Day recently made the move to Melbourne to try her luck in the big smoke. Her debut release ‘Motions’ is a self-assured electro-pop anthem that rightfully positions Izzy’s commanding vocals front and center demanding your full attention from start to finish. Teaming up with Melbourne producers Munkyds it seems that the move south has paid dividends for Izzy Day.
Lastlings Shine Bright
Despite everything going on in the world right now, Gold Coast electronic duo Lastlings have continued to shine bright, flying the flag for the Gold Coast as one of the country’s most talked about acts of 2020. After gaining support from some big players in the industry at the beginning of the year, Lastings are living up to the hype with a world-class single and accompanying anime style video for ‘No Time’. With a beat channeling the infectious low-key drive of a RÜFÜS DU SOL track the pair have added their signature vocal melodies to create an electronic pop package that is impossible to resist.
Rapid Fire With Bailey Rodrigues
Bailey Rodrigues is once again proving that the Gold Coast hip-hop scene is stronger than ever with the release of the impressive new single ‘On The Go’. Rodrigues’ quick witted, silky smooth vocal flow floats effortlessly over a slinky backing track full of swagger. His fast paced musical style seems to have transcended into his 2020 release plan with him and his collaborative producing partner Jaguar Kevins already releasing nine tracks this year with many more to come. Check out Bailey Rodrigues on Spotify to see how they’ve been keeping busy.
Jessica Jayne’s Promising Debut
Jessica Jayne is yet another fresh face on the Gold Coast music scene this month. After recently forming a three-piece band, the young songstress has given us the first taste of her sound in the form of a stripped back version of ’Dream Sensation’ which is set to feature on Jayne’s forthcoming debut EP. Showcasing simple yet effective songwriting accompanied by vocals and guitar in a studio setting, this teaser has us intrigued to hear more from this promising new local talent.
Wharves are the Lennox Beatles
Wharves have gifted us with yet another beauty of a single this month releasing ‘Hard To Let Go’ alongside an equally stunning accompanying video. Lennox Heads’ answer to The Beatles famous rooftop concert the video sees WHARVES preforming ’Hard To Let Go’ on the top floor of a beachfront apartment building in the midst of the dreamiest backdrop you could ever imagine. The song itself is the kind top shelf modern indie pop we’ve come to expect from the popular four-piece. Recorded at the famous Rockinghorse studios with one of Australia’s most sought-after producers Steven Schram, WHARVES’ latest does not disappoint.
A Decade Of The Vernons
Local indie/blues fixtures The Vernons have been performing to Gold Coast crowds for a full decade now and are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down with the release of their rollicking new single ‘Mistress’. Starting slow before building in to a fuzzy rock anthem, the track has a sort of Jack White feel in way it ebbs and flows between sections. A masterfully crafted rock song from certified legends of the Gold Coast scene.
Vallies Change Things Up
Local rock four-piece Vallies have followed up their 2019 debut with the politically charged single ‘Zero Hour’. Stylistically the band seem to have temporally ditched the fun loving vibes of their previous single to incorporate a more musically technical, lyric heavy style of rock music. Leading the charge for post-COVID live performances, the band lifted the roof of a socially distanced BBQ Bazaar earlier this month and have big release plans for the reminder of 2020.
Tiarne’s Home Grown Stunner
Gold Coast born/Brisbane based artist Tiarne has released a beautiful understated alt-pop gem this month. ‘Rose Eyes’ was written about themes of hurt, romanticising the dark and learning acceptance. It’s one of those tracks that sonically represents the lyrical content so well that you end up just ‘feeling’ the emotions being portrayed. After self producing on a laptop in her Nan’s living room, Tiarne sought out Gold Coast musical wunderkind Dylan Lindquist for mixing duties, and local Mastering legend Paul Blakey to put the finishing touches on this home grown stunner.
On The Level
Brand new electronic pop duo Love Level have introduced themselves to us this month in style with a glistening debut single of the same name. Locally produced by Calum MacDonald from certified quality beat making outfit daste and inspired by late night drunken chats with a friend, ‘Love Level’ is the result of the first ever material the pair worked on together. Smooth effortless vocals take the lead behind a lazy glitch beat reminiscent of some of the slower moments on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange masterpiece. A super impressive and self-assured debut from Gold Coast’s newest electronic duo.
Alt Fiction Expand Their Sound
Alt Fiction have released an impressive follow-up to their 2019 debut with their new single ‘People You Know’. Expanding on their simplistic guitar driven indie sound, the young three-piece have added depth here with the introduction of layered guitar hooks and vocal harmonies. Clearly channeling pioneers of progressive indie pop like Phoenix and The Strokes, ‘People You Know’ is a bright and playful tune that will have you dreaming of a Gold Coast summer.
Craving More New Music?
What a fantastic month for new music! We have been overrun with submissions from the wonderfully creative and artistically thriving community that we call home. We weren’t able to write about every single release this month but here’s a snapshot some more Gold Coast music we’ve been digging. Enjoy!