Just like that, we’re already halfway through 2021. As we get through the last leg of winter and lockdown, at least we have these promising new Aussie releases – including the return of the legendary Jimmy Barnes, and the debut album from Tones And I – to look forward to this month. Hang in there.
Combining the sugary vocals of frontwoman Angeline Armstrong with the musicality of Slum Sociable’s Edward Quinn and Joshua Moriarty of Miami Horror, the Melbourne trio’s debut EP is anchored by its slick, late-night pop aesthetic.
But ‘Tranquilize’ doesn’t ever feel detached. Quite the opposite – Armstrong’s voice soars confidently above lush, grooving production, making for a truly captivating first offering. Alex Gallagher
Telenova’s ‘Tranquilize’ is out via Pointer on July 2.
‘Flesh And Blood’
Oz rock hero Jimmy Barnes comes out with his 20th (!) studio album this month. Appropriately enough ‘Flesh And Blood’ is a family affair: his children and grandchildren contribute vocals, his son-in-law engineered the album, and his nephew shot the cover.
Singles ‘Flesh And Blood’ (a favourite of the late Michael Gudinski) and ‘Gateway To Your Heart’ are slices of soaring, anthemic rock ’n’ roll – further proof that Barnes is going strong and won’t ever stop. Karen Gwee
Jimmy Barnes’ ‘Flesh And Blood’ is out on July 2.
‘Positive Rising: Part 2’
No-one has anticipated the follow-up to DZ Deathrays’ ‘Positive Rising Part 1’ more than the band themselves. Recorded in 2019 and scheduled for 2020, the Brisbane trio’s hard-rocking sequel has been on the shelf for quite some time. Much like fellow high-octane delayed sequel F9, however, ‘Part 2’ is worth the wait. David James Young
DZ Deathrays’ ‘Positive Rising: Part 2’ is out via I OH YOU on July 9.
‘Last Year Was Weird Vol. 3’
Even without a full-length album or Australian shows to promote, Tkay Maidza has remained omnipresent thanks to her ongoing ‘Last Year Was Weird’ project.
Tkay Maidza’s ‘Last Year Was Weird Vol 3’ is out via Dew Process/4AD on July 9.
The Goon Sax
For their most adventurous album yet, the Brisbane trio expand considerably on the minimalist guitar-pop foundations of their first two records – exploring a richer, more textural sound while retaining all the charm of their earlier work.
Experimental and sonically diverse but thematically coherent, ‘Mirror II’ is anchored by the musical chemistry between bandmates Riley Jones, Louis Forster and James Harrison, which here feels tighter than ever before. AG
The Goon Sax’s ‘Mirror II’ is out via Chapter Music/Matador on July 9.
The Lazy Eyes
These psychedelic Sydneysiders have achieved a considerable amount in their relative infancy, from supporting Middle Kids and Children Collide to releasing their impressive debut ‘EP1’ last June.
The imaginatively-titled ‘EP2’ continues to develop their warm, lush take on kaleidoscopic pop. A charming effort from one of Australia’s more endearing up-and-comers. DJY
The Lazy Eyes’ ‘EP2’ is out on July 16.
Tones And I
‘Welcome To The Madhouse’
A little over two years ago, a busker named Toni Watson catapulted to stardom with a song called ‘Dance Monkey’. If recent singles ‘Cloudy Day’ and ‘Fly Away’ are any indication, her debut album looks set to cement all the qualities that made Tones And I’s breakout single such a hit – while reflecting on the whirlwind journey it’s taken her on since. AG
Tones And I’s ‘Welcome To The Madhouse’ is out via Bad Batch Records on July 16.
‘Now We’re Cookin’
There have always been hints of pop inclinations hiding underneath Polish Club’s fuzzed-out garage rock moments. On their crystalline new album, the duo lean right into those impulses – a punt that pays off in spades.
Whether it’s the stadium-sized ‘Baby We’re Burning’, the groove-heavy ‘New Age’ or the stirring ballad ‘No Heaven’, album three is guided by immediacy and economy, trimming the fat to create their most satisfying record thus far. AG
Polish Club’s ‘Now We’re Cookin’ is out via Island Records Australia on July 23.
‘I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good’
Plenty of artists try to capture what it’s like to be in your twenties, but few do it with the self-awareness and emotional intelligence of Alice Skye.
The songwriter’s Jen Cloher-produced second album seamlessly moves between gut-punch heartbreakers like ‘Hot Car’ and the big, grunge-veering catharsis of ‘Party Tricks’, all steered by Skye’s honest, introspective lyricism. AG
Alice Skye’s ‘I Feel Better But I Don’t Feel Good’ is out via Bad Apples on July 23.
‘Sycco’s First EP’
At the end of the month, Sycco – aka Sasha McLeod – releases her debut project. The 19-year-old from Brisbane brings her confident, electronic-tinged pop to the Future Classic roster, lead single ‘Time’s Up’ combining R&B vocal sensibilities with subtle, noodly Radiohead-esque guitars and righteous post-breakup energy. It’s a collaboration with Ed Quinn, who’s also on this list as part of Telenova. KG
Sycco’s ‘Sycco’s First EP’ is out via Future Classic on July 30.