What’s new this month? Here are 10 Australian release picks for May 2021

New records from Allday, CLOVES, Ryan Downey, Stevie Jean and more for your radar

From empowering pop punk to pandemic-forged rock and hard-edged yet vulnerable hip-hop, there are some exciting Australian releases on the horizon. Gear up – it’s gonna be May.

Ryan Downey A Ton Of Colours album cover art

Ryan Downey

‘A Ton Of Colours’

If there’s a word to define Ryan Downey’s second album, it’s “range”. From the tender heartland balladry of ‘Contact’ to the dramatic art-rock of ‘Same Dream, Every Night’, ‘A Ton Of Colours’ is exactly what it says on the tin.

Songs are primarily threaded together by the Melbourne crooner’s highly emotive baritone – which gloriously takes centre-stage throughout on these odes to the beauty and ache of human connection. Alex Gallagher

Ryan Downey’s ‘A Ton Of Colours’ is out via Dot Dash/Remote Control on May 14.

You Am I The Lives Of Others album cover art

You Am I

‘The Lives Of Others’

Twenty-five years on from the game-changing ‘Hourly, Daily’, You Am I re-assert themselves as stalwarts of Australian rock.

Their 11th studio album ‘The Lives Of Others’ was one of many records forged out of coronavirus-induced isolation, but its kinetic energy immediately recalls a rock band jamming in a room together. David James Young

You Am I’s ‘The Lives Of Others’ is out via Caroline Australia on May 14.

Stevie Jean The Dark album cover art

Stevie Jean

‘The Dark’

One of the more promising names in Darwin’s burgeoning music scene has just moved to the big smoke of Melbourne.

Stevie Jean arrives with a long-awaited debut album, where the singer-songwriter wrestles with her demons atop of a multifaceted parade of guitars, beats and synthesisers. Striking, soulful and substantive. DJY

Stevie Jean’s ‘The Dark’ is out on May 14.

Nerve Tall Poppy Season EP cover art


‘Tall Poppy Season’

A devoted following has built up for this Brisbane-based MC, who combines elements of drill, trap and horrorcore to create something quintessentially Nerve. His latest collection of songs explores the darker corners of the hip-hop spectrum, allowing for both fast-paced wordplay and head-bopping hooks. The rapper has also called it also his most personal and vulnerable release yet. Intriguing and promising. DJY

Nerve’s ‘Tall Poppy Season’ is out on May 21.

Tyne James Organ Necessary Evil album cover art

Tyne James-Organ

‘Necessary Evil’

A multifaceted genre approach and a distinctive, soulful voice have won Tyne-James Organ plenty of fans over the last few years.

It all culminates in a long-awaited debut LP, which sees the Sydney-based singer-songwriter reflecting on the world around him through the avenues of ambitious, big-swinging rock and infectious pop. DJY

Tyne James-Organ’s ‘Necessary Evil’ is out via Dew Process on May 21.

Holiday Sidewinder Face of God album cover art

Holiday Sidewinder

‘Face Of God’

For her second solo album, the former Bridezilla frontwoman has collaborated extensively with Nick Littlemore of Empire of the Sun and PNAU.

The result – a sprawling, kaleidoscopic voyage that foregrounds Holiday Sidewinder’s distinctive vocals – builds on the retro art-pop of 2019 album ‘Forever Or Whatever’ and Kate Bush’s ‘Sensual World’-era, all while careening into the future. AG

Holiday Sidewinder’s ‘Face Of God’ is out via Lab78 on May 21.

Allday Drinking With My Smoking Friends album cover art


‘Drinking With My Smoking Friends’

Collaborating with Japanese Wallpaper, DMA’S and more, Allday trades the trappy beats and brooding textures of 2019’s ‘Starry Night Over The Phone’ for warm, guitar-heavy pop.

Turns out it’s the perfect palette for his most earnestly sentimental songwriting to date, and – equally nostalgic in both style and subject matter – the result is his best record yet. AG

Allday’s ‘Drinking With My Smoking Friends’ is out via Believe on May 28.

Teenage Joans Taste Of Me EP cover art

Teenage Joans

‘Taste Of Me’

Taking cues from influences Camp Cope and WAAX, the debut EP from last year’s Unearthed High winners deals in big shout-along choruses, unapologetically raw songwriting and the rock-solid chemistry between Cahli Blakers and Tahlia Borg.

A thrilling formal introduction to their cathartic, bittersweet pop-punk, ‘Taste Of Me’ makes clear why Teenage Joans have resonated so strongly with their passionate community – and why they’ll stick around. AG

Teenage Joans’ ‘Taste Of Me’ is out on May 28.

Cloves Nightmare on Elmfield Road album cover art


‘Nightmare On Elmfield Road’

Kaity Dunstan is CLOVES, the London-based Melburnian who goes to some dark places on her second album. On ‘Nightmare On Elmfield Road’, Dunstan digs into her experiences with anxiety, depression and her rocky mental health journey.

Assisting her are the likes of electronic maven Hudson Mohawke and Clarence “Coffee” Jr, a hitmaking collaborator of Dua Lipa. Karen Gwee

CLOVES’ ‘Nightmare On Elmfield Road’ is out via Polydor/Interscope on May 28.

The Veronicas Godzilla album cover art

The Veronicas


The Origliasso sisters return with their first album in seven years, one of two they’ll release in 2021 alongside ‘Human’ in July. A ferocious beast of an opening title track reunites them with ‘Untouched’ co-writer and producer Toby Gad, while early singles like ‘In My Blood’ and ‘The Only High’ demonstrate The Veronicas’ knack for songwriting that’s both vulnerable and dramatic in equal measure. AG

The Veronicas’ ‘Godzilla’ is out via Sony on May 28.