nd just like that, Spring is upon us! We’re also two thirds of the way through this year, and like it should in any great narrative, this third act is shaping up to bring one hell of a climax. We already know that October belongs to King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, since today (September 1) brought the news that they’ll release a mind-melting three albums at once – but in the meantime, September is loaded with crash-hot records from local luminaries.
Tomorrow (September 2), we’ll see two modern greats of Australian pop show bold new sides of themselves: ex-Preatures frontwoman Isabella Manfredi will drop her long-awaited debut album as a solo artist, ‘Izzi’, while Montaigne will take us on a rollercoaster ride through the hyperpop kaleidoscope with their third full-length effort, ‘Making It!’. We’ll also get our hands on the mesmerising debut from Naarm’s Ruby Gill, before the following week brings us career-defining efforts from genre leaders like Sampa The Great (a recent NME Australia cover star), Parkway Drive and Eat Your Heart Out.
Later this month, we’ll get a cheekily titled album of ‘Pop Music For Normal Women’ from June Jones, a downright beautiful new record from Big Scary, and an immersive new look into the mind of e4444e – all records that come no more than 18 months on from their respective predecessors. Needless to say, we’ve got a big month of listening ahead. Let’s jump right in:
One year on since The Preatures announced their end, Isabella Manfredi‘s debut solo album (assisted by Jonathan Wilson, Stella Mozgawa, Emma Louise, Kirin J Callinan and more) comes as a glorious rebirth, with its ambitious scope matched only by its bold execution.
Melding groove-heavy, neon-lit synth-pop with some of Manfredi’s most open and honest songwriting to date, ‘Izzi’ is the kind of record one could only make if they believed in it 110 per cent – something made evident time and time again throughout. Alex Gallagher
Isabella Manfredi’s ‘Izzi’ is out September 2 via Island Records / Universal Music Australia.
Deriving their stage name from a 16th century philosopher, it’s not surprising that Jess Cerro’s music as Montaigne is theatrical and ambitious.
On their third album, though, Cerro swaps the orchestral pageantry for brash and biting electronics, delivering a hyperpop epic that bounds from dizzying surges of colour (‘JC Ultra’, ‘SickCryDie’) to blissful whippets of spaced-out balladry (‘In The Green Room’, ‘Comet Death’) – and, on early highlight ‘Embodi3d’, both. Ellie Robinson
Montaigne’s ‘Making It!’ is out September 2 via Wonderlick / Sony Music Australia.
‘I’m Gonna Die With This Frown On My Face’
Built around sparse electric guitar chords and lingering piano keys with flourishes of considerate, impactful accompaniment, these quietly devastating songs accomplish a lot with a little.
Navigating subjects like place and geography, anxiety, external (and internal) pressures and the capitalistic grind with sharp wit and genuine vulnerability, Gill’s debut album feels like finding a moment of thoughtful clarity in the midst of an overwhelming noise; a gentle reminder to breathe once in a while. AG
Ruby Gill’s ‘I’m Gonna Die With This Frown On My Face’ is out September 2.
Eat Your Heart Out
‘Can’t Stay Forever’
As it did for most of us, the pandemic offered Eat Your Heart Out a lot of time for introspection. They took advantage of it, growing both as people and artists, and making their gamut-running second album an intense leap forward.
Soaring over Will Moore’s grungy riffs and Jake Cronin’s walloping drums, frontwoman Caitlin Henry consistently bares her soul with enrapturing aplomb, whether on melancholic slow-burners like ‘Poison Devotion’, ultra-catchy mosh anthems like ‘Hostage’ (where bassist Dom Cant totally steals the show), or melodic ragers like ‘Twenty Something’ and ‘Headfirst’. ER
Eat Your Heart Out’s ‘Can’t Stay Forever’ is out September 9 via Fearless Records.
Not only were they reckoning with the Black Summer bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 eastern Australia floods – not to mention worldwide political turbulence amid all of it – but its writing and recording processes were so fraught that the band came within an inch of breaking up, and were spurred to enter group therapy afterwards. Fusing that turmoil with musical cues from ‘80s thrash metal and ‘90s industrial, this is Parkway’s boldest effort yet. ER
Parkway Drive’s ‘Darker Still’ is out September 9 via Parkway Records.
Sampa The Great
‘As Above, So Below’
If following up a debut as strikingly singular and varied as 2019’s AMP-winning ‘The Return’ seems impossibly daunting, you wouldn’t know it listening to ‘As Above, So Below’.
Recorded while she was back home in Zambia, Sampa Tembo‘s second studio album – executive produced by Mag44, featuring the legendary Angélique Kidjo, Tembo’s sister Mwanjé, Denzel Curry, Joey Bada$$ and more – is an even bolder bridging of the past and the future, honouring her roots while fully realising her vision: always reflective and unapologetically flexing. AG
Sampa The Great’s ‘As Above, So Below’ is out September 9 via Loma Vista Recordings / Concord.
‘Me And You’
- READ MORE: Big Scary: “The childlike excitement at creating something together has never disappeared”
It arrives just 17 months after the duo’s last LP, ‘Daisy’, but not a second of it feels rushed – there is, however, a looseness and jammy, free-flowing energy that imbues into this record an intimacy that was sorely missing from its predecessor. It also sees the pair – guitarist Tom Iansek and drummer Joanna Syme – become true equals in their roles, for the first time ever sharing all of the songwriting, production and lead vocal duties. ER
Big Scary’s ‘Me And You’ is out September 23 via Pieater / Inertia Music.
‘Pop Music For Normal Women’
Its tongue-in-cheek title may tip you off: June Jones‘ third solo album is her most deliberate lean yet into making – in her own unique, subversive way – real deal, shoot-for-the-skies pop music.
- READ MORE: June Jones: “Even when the world feels extremely difficult, there is always humanity and care and solidarity”
Katie Dey collaboration ‘If Only’, the Alice Skye-assisted, nu metal-adjacent ‘Extrovert’ and the deceptively heartrending ‘Hoodie Girl’ all feature big, metallic synths, 808 claps and hi-hats, and impossibly memorable choruses. That palette foregrounds wry, honest meditations on identity, isolation, connection and growth. The result, an equal marriage of style and substance, is Jones’ most compelling record yet. AG
June Jones’ ‘Pop Music For Normal Women’ is out September 23 via Emotion Punk Records.
‘I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle’
Romy Church’s third album in as many years is an unhurried, intricate patchwork where each track builds its own immersive world through thoughtfully-layered collages of guitars, field recordings, droning electronics and Church’s own gently-sung vocals.
Last year’s ‘Coldstream Road’ focused on more immediate and raw songwriting, and while the expressiveness and roughness of some of the sound sources remain (channelling Alex G on songs like ‘The Whistler’), expansive and slowly-unfurling soundscapes like opener ‘Beautiful Hills/Later’ prove why e4444e is one of the country’s most interesting artists. AG
e4444e’s ‘I Spend All Day Drawing A Circle’ is out September 30 via Dinosaur City Records.