Who else can’t believe it’s already June? 2021 hasn’t been as easy as we hoped it would be last year, but there’s been good music to buoy our spirits as we’ve gritted our teeth through snap lockdowns and gig cancellations.
This month brings anticipated comebacks from Crowded House and The Scientists, long-gestating debuts from Plaster Of Paris and Dulcie, and many more. Dive in.
‘Dreamers Are Waiting’
Don’t dream it’s over: Neil Finn has once again revived his best-loved project for their first album in over a decade. The new lineup sports his sons Liam and Elroy, and their sound has expanded once again within their private universe. Nostalgia’s fine, but Crowded House are seeking something bigger. David James Young
Crowded House’s ‘Dreamers Are Waiting’ is out via EMI on June 4.
It’s rare to find a pop project that pays reverence to what came before while gleefully subverting those structures. But that’s exactly what the debut EP from Melbourne-via-India songwriter Ashwarya achieves.
Standout ‘Biryani’, which pairs booming sub basses with traditional bhangra drums and verses delivered in Hindi, offers just one glimpse into the unique sonic world the 21-year-old artist is building with ‘Nocturnal Hours’ – each song takes swerves that are dramatic and genuinely thrilling. [Ed. note: shortly after this feature was published, the release date for ‘Nocturnal Hours’ was changed to July 8.] Alex Gallagher
Ashwarya’s ‘Nocturnal Hours’ is out via NOiZE Recordings on July 8.
With jangly guitars, gorgeous harmonies and quietly confessional songwriting, the latest from this Melbourne indie-pop quartet is a must-listen for fans of the Go-Betweens or the Triffids.
That said, ‘Golden Doubt’ is more a carrying of the torch than an exercise in nostalgia – these songs are warm, inventive and reward repeat listens, the band’s idiosyncrasies shining bright throughout. AG
Quivers’ ‘Golden Doubt’ is out via Spunk Records on June 11.
What’s 34 years between drinks, anyway? Kim Salmon and his not-so-merry band have slowly chipped away at new material since their reunion in the early 2000s. On ‘Negativity’, it’s like they never left.
Salmon’s tried-and-true eccentricities are revived and electrified by washes of guitars and drums, concocting something both vital and quintessentially Scientists. DJY
The Scientists’ ‘Negativity’ is out via In The Red on June 11.
In the early 2010s, Tim Ayre was riding the wave of synth-pop as one half of the imaginatively named Tim & Jean. Although his solo output offers up a slightly more refined palette, the hookiness and bright production that brought him to the dance remains intact on this charming debut EP. DJY
Tim Ayre’s ‘Modern Life’ is out via Kitsuné Musique on June 16.
Curtis Wakeling of the Ocean Party and Pop Filter teams up with musician Kayleigh Heydon for a stunning collection of dream pop gems inspired by the likes of Mazzy Star and Galaxie 500.
With both artists trading (and sharing) vocals before a lush, lo-fi backdrop, standouts like ‘Salt’ and ‘Wildflower’ move slowly and give generously as they unfurl. AG
Deuce’s ‘Deuce’ is out via Dinosaur City Records on June 16.
‘Sake of Sound’
This WA pop-rock crew have been warming hearts and charming audiences across Australia since their arrival late last decade. ‘Sake Of Sound’ marks their debut EP, emphasising their knack for harmonies and tightly woven structure. There’s not a hair out of place across the four tracks, which are already dressed to the nines. DJY
Dulcie’s ‘Sake Of Sound’ is out via Lapis Lazuli on June 18.
On her second EP, the Jezabels frontwoman fully steps into her charismatic solo persona.
Her self-assurance comes through in the rousing guitar-pop and glam extravagance of standouts like ‘Would You Throw A Diamond?’ and closer ‘The Chain’, but underneath all of ‘The Drip’ is Hayley Mary’s impassioned songwriting: often vulnerable, always affecting. AG
Hayley Mary’s ‘The Drip’ is out via I OH YOU on June 18.
Plaster Of Paris
The most attention-grabbing aspect of this Melbourne post-punk trio’s debut LP is its urgency and economy – very rarely does a song feel crowded or a part unnecessary.
Jagged guitars, taut rhythms and flourishes of synth and sax foreground singer Zec Zechner’s distinctive, near-operatic howl and the band’s charged manifestos for bodily autonomy and climate action. AG
Plaster Of Paris’ ‘Lost Familiar’ is out via Psychic Hysteria on June 23.
After their psych-funk odyssey was derailed by real-life tragedy, the Melbourne voyagers have regrouped and forged ahead for their first album in six years. Their neo-soul grooves and jazz-coloured rhythms remain intact. There is, however, a newfound sense of purpose within the music that makes ‘Mood Valiant’ so very satisfying. DJY
Hiatus Kaiyote’s ‘Mood Valiant’ is out via Brainfeeder/Ninja Tune on June 25.