s the pre-pandemic landscape of the Australian music scene slowly, but surely makes its grand comeback, so do those that reign in its highest echelons. Especially so is this true in the EDM world – six years after he dropped jaws en masse with ‘Skin’, Flume is back with his cool and kaleidoscopic ‘Palaces’, while Alison Wonderland returns with ‘Loner’ four years after her own sophomore effort, ‘Awake’.
This month also proves that pop-punk is alive and well, with new albums from Stand Atlantic and Semantics cementing May as the official start of circle pit season. And speaking of genres from the ‘90s being cool again, Eliza & The Delusionals’ debut album, ‘Now And Then’, finally gives us an Australian answer to Pale Waves and Olivia Rodrigo with their crunchy, static-tinted angst-pop.
Elsewhere in the realm of debut efforts, May brings us the stunning first full-lengths from Body Type, HAAi, and the current cover star of NME Australia, the one and only Mallrat. There’s plenty more to sink your teeth into this month, too – start stacking your plates and filling your playlists…
Prior to making ‘Loner’, Alexandra Sholler felt like she’d hit rock bottom – an emotional state only intensified by the pandemic. This record, Sholler’s third as Alison Wonderland, was born from catharsis – a personal endeavour to create something empowering, that would “help [her] find strength in this loneliness”. The end result is a bold and bewitching dance-pop rollercoaster, bounding between its dreamy highs and stormy lows. Matt Doria
Alison Wonderland’s ‘Loner’ is out May 6 via EMI / Universal Music Australia.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are a rare breed of band, consistently fascinating without ever indulging in the ostentatious, and it’s never been clearer than on album three.
- READ MORE: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: “Lennon, McCartney, Harrison were in competition with each other. We’re not”
The follow-up to 2020’s ‘Sideways To New Italy’ finds the Melbourne indie rockers playing to their strengths – bright textures, immediately satisfying hooks and springy, interlocking rhythms – while giving themselves the creative freedom to expand that scope. ‘Endless’-ly replayable. Alex Gallagher
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s ‘Endless Rooms’ is out May 6 via Ivy League Records.
After two records of ultra-bright and sprightly pop-punk, Stand Atlantic’s third flips the script with a snarling and snarky bite. Kept intact are the mammoth riffs and earworm vocal hooks, but the mood’s been blackened, frontwoman Bonnie Fraser taking no prisoners with her headstrong hits of barbed lyrical ferocity. Coupled with grungier, more roughed-up chords, experimental dips into hip-hop and hardcore, and production that’s looser, but never messy, ‘F.E.A.R.’ (an acronym for ‘Fuck Everything And Run’) takes you on one hell of a journey. MD
Stand Atlantic’s ‘F.E.A.R.’ is out May 6 via Hopeless Records.
With the Melbourne group growing in personnel and scope since their formation in 2016, ‘Levity’ marks The Stroppies‘ strongest, most full-sounding record to date. Refining their scrappy jangle-pop sensibilities while veering into more ambitious soundscapes, the album – crafted slowly over the course of extensive lockdowns – carries the strong spirit of collaboration, stringing together meaning amid the chaos and anxiety of modern times. AG
The Stroppies’ ‘Levity’ is out May 6 via Tough Love Records.
Four years since her mainstream breakout came with ‘Groceries’, Mallrat (aka Grace Shaw) has blossomed into much more than just a bedroom-pop darling.
- READ MORE: Mallrat: “When pop music is done with respect for the listeners, it’s perfect and exciting and beautiful”
Her debut studio album promises everything from heady hip-hop (the Azealia Banks-featuring ‘Surprise Me’) and trap-pop (‘Your Love’) to gloom-inflected indie-rock (‘Teeth’) and ‘90s-channelling guitar pop (‘Rockstar’). It’s primed to be a deep dive into Shaw’s kaleidoscopic musical psyche, with the boundary-pushing artist having described it as “a demonstration of [herself] not pretending to be anyone else”. MD
Mallrat’s ‘Butterfly Blue’ is out May 13 via Dew Process.
‘Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising’
- READ MORE: Body Type on their fiery debut album: “I was trying to occupy the space that is so stereotypically male”
Clearer in its convictions – namely, the imperative to stand firm in one’s power despite those that would see you relinquish it – ‘Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising’ is an unflinching and incendiary record, anchored by the band’s extremely sharp musical chemistry. AG
Body Type’s ‘Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing’s Surprising’ is out May 20 via Poison City Records.
Eliza & The Delusionals
‘Now And Then’
For their full-length debut, Eliza & The Delusionals lean heavily on their ‘90s pop and rock influences – think the likes of No Doubt, Mazzy Star and Alanis Morissette – but imbue it with a bright and biting, distinctly modern flair that makes them perfectly suited to rule the pop-rock scene of 2022. ‘YOU’ is a particular highlight, channelling Pale Waves with its big, booming chorus and ever-so-slightly angsty slant. MD
Eliza & The Delusionals’ ‘Now And Then’ is out May 20 via Cooking Vinyl Australia.
Harley Streten‘s first proper studio album in six years reaffirms why the powerhouse producer is one of our most in-demand exports. Assisted by the likes of Damon Albarn, Caroline Polachek and MAY-A, ‘Palaces’ sees Streten following his intuition with more confidence than ever before, boasting as many festival-primed flexes as out-there experimentation. AG
Flume’s ‘Palaces’ is out May 20 via Future Classic.
‘Paint Me Blue’
We’re in the golden age of ocker punk, with bands like Sly Withers, WAAX and Bakers Eddy pumping out a seemingly endless onslaught of hits defined by ultra-catchy hooks, pummelling wallops of distortion and that beautifully schlocky strine. Semantics join the top tier without a hitch on their enthralling debut LP, ‘Paint Me Blue’, with explosive cuts of melodically charged emo (like ‘Carousel’ and ‘Embrace Monotony’), grungy slow-burners (‘Lighter Glow’, ‘Leafwing’) and tracks that hit an alluring sweet-spot between the two (‘Get In The Car’, ‘This Love Could Kill You’). MD
Semantics’ ‘Paint Me Blue’ is out May 20 via SideOneDummy / Cooking Vinyl Australia.
‘Baby, We’re Ascending’
After years of attention-grabbing DJ sets and collaborations with the likes of The Chemical Brothers and The xx’s Romy, the Australian-born, London-based producer’s debut album was crafted during lockdown as a salve amid shut-down dancefloors. Across 13 tracks, Teneil Throssell oscillates between warped, glitchy experimentation and euphoric release, slowly revealing a vivid world of future-facing electronica that feels innately human, reaching for connection throughout. AG
HAAi’s ‘Baby, We’re Ascending’ is out May 27 via Mute Artists.