What’s new this month? Here are 10 Australian album picks for October 2020

Ball Park Music, Kate Miller-Heidke and Triple One lead the month's fresh releases

At the end of the month, Midnight Oil will return with their first longform release in nearly 20 years: ‘The Makarrata Project’, a mini-album featuring a slew of First Nations artists that calls for commitment to the Uluru Statement From The Heart.

Besides The Oils, here are 10 other Aussie artists releasing records this October that you should get across: from Melbourne punks Smarts’ freewheeling debut to Peep Tempel frontman Blake Scott’s solo debut and rap projects from Triple One and Craterface.

Goldminds Signal album 2020

Goldminds

‘Signals’

There’s not much about Melbourne band Goldminds that gives away that they’re making music in the present day. You could sandwich them in just about any vintage hard-rock compilation, or even a garage-rock revival playlist, and listeners wouldn’t so much as bat an eyelid. That may seem like an accusation of anachronism, but those bands and sounds are also considered classic. The fact Goldminds fit right in means they’re capable of the same greatness in their own right. ‘Signals’, their debut, will serve as the ultimate test of this hypothesis. David James Young

Goldmind’s ‘Signals’ is out via Romantic Rights on October 2.

Lisa Caruso new album In Feelings

Lisa Caruso

‘In Feelings’

The debut album from Sydney singer-songwriter Lisa Caruso has been a long time in the works. Blending a softened melancholy with troubadour folklore and a hint of Dylan going electric, ‘In Feelings’ maps out the inner workings of one of the city’s most underrated performers.

She’s backed by an ensemble cast, including guitarist Ben Fletcher (Marina, Sarah Blasko) and drummer Cec Condon (The Mess Hall). Make no mistake, however: Even with a few nice bells and whistles dangling off them, these songs are still entirely Caruso’s. Heartfelt, introspective and intimate, ‘In Feelings’ is at once fresh and familiar. DJY

Lisa Caruso’s ‘In Feelings’ is out October 9.

Blake Scott Peep Tempel Niscitam album

Blake Scott

‘Niscitam’

As the frontman for beloved Melbourne noise rock larrikins The Peep Tempel, Blake Scott has crafted three albums’ worth of colourful characters and caustic songwriting. His debut solo album is less abrasive than his previous work but retains its captivating storytelling, with Scott building narratives that move between deeply personal introspection and biting cultural observation, mining existentialism and the suburban psyche.

There’s a lot of musical ground covered, from the motorik post-punk of ‘Kalashnikov’ to the slow-burning, quietly devastating spoken word album closer ‘Hillman Hunter’ – altogether proving Scott as one of the country’s most unique, compelling songwriters. Alex Gallagher

Blake Scott’s ‘Niscitam’ is out via Wing Sing Records on October 9.

Chloe Alison Escott Stars Under Contract album

Chloe Alison Escott

‘Stars Under Contract’

You may recognise Escott as the self-possessed frontwoman of Tasmanian duo the Native Cats. For new solo album ‘Stars Under Contract’, however, she trades that band’s driving, esoteric post-punk for a stark solo record that’s vulnerable in the most genuine and unabashed sense of the word. Minimal arrangements consisting almost entirely of piano foreground Escott’s lyrics, which are tender and meditative, but also abstractly intelligent and wry.

Conceptually, ‘Stars Under Contract’ sees the songwriter interrogate identity and grapple with hard-won self-acceptance. It’s not always easy listening, but it is deeply rewarding; Escott’s inner world reveals itself piece by piece with each repeat play. AG

Chloe Alison Escott’s ‘Stars Under Contract’ is out via Chapter Music on October 16.

Who Needs Smarts Anyway album 2020

Smarts

‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway?’

Members of Ausmuteants and Parsnip come together on Smarts’ blistering, chaotic and very fun first album. Sharp, breakneck riffs and frenetic rhythms zig-zag nimbly around dynamic, warbling sax and synth across this record’s 13 incredibly punchy tracks, most of which clock in below the two-minute mark.

While its urgency gives the haphazard sense it could teeter over the edge at any moment, the tightness of its performances and musically succinct, less-is-more approach steers it away from ever feeling shambolic. Who needs Smarts anyway? The answer is self-evident: these Victorian eccentrics deliver one of the most attention-grabbing, genuinely exciting Australian punk debuts of late. AG

Smarts’ ‘Who Needs Smarts Anyway?’ is out via Anti Fade on October 16.

Mimi Gilbert new album Grew Inside the Water

Mimi Gilbert

‘Grew Inside The Water’

Mimi Gilbert began crafting the songs on her nostalgic debut studio album in solitary earnest while on the road opening for the likes of Julia Jacklin and Nadia Reid. Produced by Gilbert herself and recorded between Melbourne and her home state of California, ‘Grew Inside The Water’ is delivered with gentleness, but is also passionate and deeply human.

With warm, muted guitars and subtly effective percussion, these ethereal folk songs act as soft antidotes to the harsh noise of the world outside, a testament to the simple but incredibly meaningful joy of connecting to honest, affecting music. AG

Mimi Gilbert’s ‘Grew Inside The Water’ is out via Cohort Records on October 23.

The album art for Ball Park Music's self-titled album

Ball Park Music

‘Ball Park Music’

Credit where credit’s due: Ball Park Music are one of the few Australian indie rock outfits established at the start of the 2010s that are still around to tell the tale. Not only that, but they still have new stories to share, as evidenced from their self-titled sixth LP.

The eponymous effort from the Brisbane veterans once again marries their pop sensibilities with a sense of lyrical academia that comfortably coexists with a major-chord disposition. This land of contrasts is where Sam Cromack and co. thrive – and if the teasers are anything to go by, they will continue to. DJY

‘Ball Park Music’ is out via Prawn Records on October 23.

Kate Miller Heidke new album Child in Reverse 2020

Kate Miller-Heidke

‘Child In Reverse’

It took singing atop a giant structural dress at Eurovision to lure Kate Miller-Heidke back to pop. With ‘Child In Reverse’, the singer-songwriter has finally followed up 2014’s ‘O Vertigo!’ properly, doubling down on that album’s brighter corners and technicolour flourishes. In turn, this pushes her into a hitherto-unexplored musical terrain.

The operatic voice remains as quintessential and distinctive as ever, but songs such as ‘Deluded’ and ‘This Is Not Forever’ ensure nothing is quite as we’ve known it. ‘Child In Reverse’, fascinatingly, is the sound of KMH maturing while playing in the fountain of youth. DJY

Kate Miller-Heidke’s ‘Child In Reverse’ is out via EMI on October 30.

Triple One new album Panic Force

Triple One

‘Panic Force’

After a string of EPs and attention-grabbing singles, this hydra-headed hip-hop crew level up on their triumphant debut album, which is at once self-assured and vulnerable. Each member’s individual contribution supports the Voltron that is Triple One, with raw and reflective lyricism paired with versatile, inventive production.

There’s little deference shown to genre, with the guitar-driven punk sensibilities on ‘Skinless Man’ and ‘Yap! Yap Yap!’ sitting coherently alongside the melancholic trap of ‘Salina’ and ‘Loverose’. Arriving four years after their formation, the collective’s sonically diverse first LP feels like a snapshot of both the work they’ve done to get to this point, and the bright future ahead of them. AG

Triple One’s ‘Panic Force’ is out on October 30.

Craterface Burn After Listening album art

Craterface

‘BURN AFTER LISTENING’

Newcastle’s Craterface have made quite the impression since emerging as a project in the second half of the 2010s. Their VHS-tinged production and trap-flavoured flows have allowed them to carve a niche within Australia’s burgeoning alternative hip-hop scene. Simultaneously, their artistic versatility has allowed them to collaborate with artists as diverse as Shady Nasty, Teddie and Vacations – within months of one another, no less.

A lot rides on their debut mixtape, but you’d best believe these staunch Novocastrians have come prepared. With inventive beats, impressive flows and copious energy, ‘BURN AFTER LISTENING’ is set to be a proper firestarter. DJY

Craterface’s ‘BURN AFTER LISTENING’ is out on October 30.

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