e’re a quarter of the way through 2023, and thus far it’s shaped up to be a phenomenal year for Australian music. But April’s slate proves that our local hitmakers have only just warmed up, with this month bringing us the fifth albums from the dance-pop luminaries in Cub Sport and the folk-rock firestarters in Cash Savage And The Last Drinks, as well as the monumental 10th album from punk trailblazers Frenzal Rhomb.
It’s a great month for debut efforts, too, with the first full-length albums from Moody Beaches and Sunfruits, plus the long-awaited debut EP from TikTok superstar Peach PRC. Floodlights and Deuce also have their second records incoming, while Chris Lanzon has his third, and the underground Melbourne stalwarts in Terry have their fourth. Needless to say, we’ve got a big month of playlisting ahead of us…
‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’
Named for an emotive poem by Jay Hulme, ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ is a resoundingly personal album for Cub Sport’s Tim Nelson (as he explained to NME in January). It’s a record of liberation and catharsis, Nelson reckoning with his past in the closet, embracing his loud-and-proud present and looking straight ahead to an ultra-bright future with infectious optimism.
- READ MORE: Cub Sport’s Tim Nelson talks new album ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ and “euphoric but complicated” single ‘Keep Me Safe’
Although slow-burning songs like ‘Keep Me Safe’ anchor the record in a realm of heartrending poignancy, Nelson wasn’t kidding when he called LP5 Cub Sport’s “most dance-forward, party-centric album” to date – as proved by the early previews ‘Always Got The Love’ and ‘Replay’, the follow-up to ‘Like Nirvana’ was made with the dancefloor in mind. Really, though, anywhere you listen to ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ can (and most definitely should) become a dancefloor. Ellie Robinson
Cub Sport’s ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar’ is out April 7 via Believe.
‘The Cup Of Pestilence’
Par for the course with Frenzal Rhomb, ‘The Cup Of Pestilence’ is dizzying and destructive in all the best ways, packed with loose and lively, shred-heavy punk jams primed to soundtrack a legion of bratty teens’ comings of age. But like their last two efforts (2017’s ‘Hi-Vis High Tea’ and 2011’s ‘Smoko At The Pet Food Factory’), the irreverent trailblazers’ 10th album was minted with punk prodigy Bill Stevenson (of Descendents fame) at his renowned studio The Blasting Room – so while it is punchy and crass and delightfully rough around the edges, it’s also tight as hell and musically rich, boasting some of the band’s most creatively ambitious work yet.
Lindsay McDougall shines especially bright here, his fretwork masterfully straddling the line between technical and turbulent. Highlights include his infectious solo on ‘Horse Meat’ and the soaring runs on ‘Thought It Was Yoga But It Was Ketamine’ that act as the album’s closing salvo. ER
Frenzal Rhomb’s ‘The Cup Of Pestilence’ is out April 7 via Virgin Music Australia.
‘Call Me Terry’
The Melbourne band – featuring members from Total Control, Primo and other beloved underground acts – return with another buzzy, off-kilter gem that’s their most sonically adventurous yet. Songs like ‘Centuries’ and ‘Gronks’ fizzle with the buoyant power-pop of 2018’s ‘I’m Terry’, but much of the album takes listeners into more nuanced territory.
The album particularly shines when it builds up its collaging soundscapes: guitars, warbling synths, strings and blaring sax – not to mention all four members’ vocals. Lyrically, the band are characteristically incisive, confronting colonial Australia’s corrupt past, present, and most garish displays of excess and entitlement. Alex Gallagher
Terry’s ‘Call Me Terry’ is out April 14 via Anti Fade Records.
‘Painting Of My Time’
Taking the emotionally raw, honest songwriting and spirited energy of 2020 debut ‘From A View’, Floodlights‘ second album trades that relative sparseness for a much fuller sound – among the guitars, bass and drums, flourishes of trumpet and harmonica accent its natural urgency and immediacy.
As with its predecessor, the album is guided by its storytelling. Narratives and observations unfurl with frontman Louis Parsons’ distinctive twang, always growing to enormous, anthemic heights on rousing harmonies and shared refrains. Songs like these live and die by the conviction of those delivering them, and on ‘Painting Of My Time’, it’s clear the band mean every word, believe in every note. AG
Floodlights’ ‘Painting Of My Time’ is out April 21.
‘Acidic’ is an apt word to describe this debut full-length, a searing, visceral record that, imagines what it might have been like if ‘Dig Me Out’-era Sleater-Kinney had taken just a couple cues from The Jesus Lizard.
Distorted bass (refreshingly high in the mix), muscular drumming and sharp, fuzzed-out guitars build up the thrilling, almost uneasy tension that brims throughout, held together by the trio‘s ultra-tight musical chemistry. Their melodic harmonies are a highlight each time they appear, along with the glorious falsetto of lead singer/guitarist Anna Lienhop on tracks like ‘The Suburbs’ and ‘Counting Reasons’. AG
Moody Beaches’ ‘Acid Ocean’ is out April 21 via Poison City Records.
Cash Savage And The Last Drinks
‘So This Is Love’
Cash Savage And The Last Drinks dropped their fourth album (2018’s ‘Good Citizens’) just 10 months after their third (2017’s ‘One Of Us’), so it stands to reason that they’d take a little break before smashing out the next one.
Those five years of quiet have led Savage and co. to their most considered body of work – a little tighter, cleaner and less abrasive than its predecessors, but no less stirring or visceral. The nine songs on ‘So This Is Love’ run the full gamut of the septet’s musicality, from the bluesy and twee to the sharp and fierce. ER
Cash Savage And The Last Drinks’ ‘So This Is Love’ is out April 28 via Mistletone.
Deuce began as a lockdown project for The Ocean Party‘s Curtis Wakeling and artist Kayleigh Heydon, and their eponymous, home-recorded 2021 album was a surprise, lo-fi pop delight. ‘Wild Type’ goes considerably bigger, with more complex arrangements, fuller production and an altogether warmer feeling.
Bright, jangly guitar melodies are free to sparkle above live drums and bass, while Wakeling and Heydon’s vocals interweave gorgeously on songs like ‘Blue’ and the album’s title track. It’s a joy to see the duo’s vision for the project brought to full-sized scale, bursting with colour and texture. AG
Deuce’s ‘Wild Type’ is out April 28 via Dinosaur City Records.
‘Manic Dream Pixie’
Having risen to stardom with standalone hits like ‘God Is A Freak’ and ‘Forever Drunk’, Peach PRC’s debut EP adds a wealth of new colour to her palette of quirky, saccharine hyperpop. She leans into the tropes of the ‘Manic Dream Pixie’ she embodies across its six tracks, with every song tackling a different form of love: ‘Kinda Famous’ is a tribute to chronically online fangirls raised in the MySpace era, and chronicling her own journey as a queer woman, ‘Perfect For You’ is a sapphic pop anthem for the girls that pined over their straight friends as teens.
Later in the mix, we’re given straight-up love songs like ‘Favourite Person’ and ‘Loved You Before’ – the latter a tooth-achingly sweet bubblegum ballad with some of Peach’s all-time cutest lyrics (“I bet we were a couple’ bugs / Just livin’ in the mud / Happily in love, doing bug stuff”) – while ‘F U Goodbye’ is an ultra-glossy breakup anthem (and spiritual successor to debut single ‘Josh’), and ‘Dear Inner Child’ is a love letter to her former self, reflecting on her childhood trauma and the way it’s shaped her as an adult. ER
Peach PRC’s ‘Manic Dream Pixie’ is out April 28 via Island Records Australia/Republic Records.
This psych-pop group‘s debut album manages to be at once kaleidoscopic and exuberant – the kind of euphoric ear candy that hits one’s brain like a sudden dopamine rush. There’s an element of time travel at play here too, taking lovingly nostalgic cues from ’60s psych and funnelling it through an ultra-modern, high-def lens.
The twist to all that deceptively effervescent, blissed-out fuzz is it’s a kind of Trojan horse for the band to grapple with bigger matters, confronting environmental collapse and the weight of trying to be a good, empathetic person while navigating the hellscape. AG
Sunfruits’ ‘One Degree’ is out April 28 via Third Eye Stimuli Records.
If the singles give us any hint, Chris Lanzon’s third EP, ‘Dark Side’ – the follow-up to 2020’s heady and heartfelt six-track ‘Melancholy’ – will show a stunning breadth of the Sydney artist’s musical growth over three years.
The title track is at once energised and impactful, bolstering an otherwise lowkey reverie with punchy drums, stacked harmonies and ultra-colourful guitars. Last month’s ‘Rollercoaster’, too, is a guitar-pop gem made infectious by its rich and roomy production. Lanzon has yet to become a household name, but with songs this strong and charisma this captivating, that won’t be the case for too much longer. ER
Chris Lanzon’s ‘Dark Side’ is out later in April via Hunnydew Recordings.