11 new Aussie songs you need to hear this week

Big Scary – ‘Over Matter’

AMP-winning duo Big Scary tease their third LP with this diffuse six-minute meditation. ‘Over Matter’ is Flying Lotus-esque mood music with a dark soul slant, steamy sax, flurries of drumming, and an insistent whisper at the fore. The band humbly call the brave and borderless track “the beginning of a transformation.” Animal is out in early September on their own Pieater imprint.

Cash Savage & The Last Drinks – ‘My Friend’

Three years after her last album, Melbourne’s Cash Savage gets right back into her gloomy wheelhouse with this stunning examination of loneliness and resilience. Flecked with banjo and fiddle, it starts out sparse and downcast before working its way toward a stirring, hopeful culmination that describes being rescued from a fall into darkness. This should appeal to fans of The Middle East as much as fans of Johnny Cash. Savage’s new album One of Us comes out early next month, with a four-date launch tour stretching into August.

Witch Hats – ‘Deliverance’

It’s been ages since we’ve had a new single from Witch Hats, whose sneering, shadowy rock masks a scampish cheekiness. ‘Deliverance’ slots in easily with the Melbourne quartet’s mid-2000s early days, though there’s a poppy undercurrent plus a scratchy Cobain vibe to Kris Buscombe’s vocal turn. And for all its tousled sloshing about, everything comes together in time for a strong chorus and bristling guitar solo. It’s the title track off Witch Hats’ long-time-coming third LP, out July 1.

Montaigne – ‘I Love You’

Synth-squiggled and unabashedly ’80s, Montaigne’s new single mines a real sweet spot amid plenty of would-be contradictions: it’s richly layered yet untroubled by gravity, playfully askew yet tightly focused, and lilting yet anthemic. Something like stadium synth-pop, it’s straightforward in its catchiness but offers lots of odd little twists and tangents to appreciate.

Dappled Cities – ‘That Sound’

Dappled Cities return to the percolating art-pop of their prime with ‘That Sound’, the first sampling of October’s promised fifth album. Part adult stock-taking and part cryptic daydream, it sprang from the band’s fondness for both obtuse indie rock and lush ’70s pop. And yep, the disco guitar licks and falsetto harmonies are strong with this one. It’s nice to hear these Sydney veterans get back to such sun-soaked roominess. They launch the single in Melbourne and Sydney in mid-July.

Sarah Mary Chadwick – ‘Makin’ It Work’

Sung in her usual bedraggled scratchiness, Sarah Mary Chadwick’s new tune was recorded in her lounge room over sparse organ and a sputtering, barely-there beat. For most artists it’d sound like a private demo, but the erstwhile Batrider leader relishes the song’s uncommon openness. Her lyrics are better than ever, even cutting through her trademark bleakness with the grudging line “But I’m movin’ toward a type of finish line.” Chadwick’s fourth solo album, Roses Always Die, is due in early August.

Ta-ku & Wafia – ‘Meet in the Middle’

Fresh off selling out the Sydney Opera House last week, Ta-ku and Wafia continue their fruitful collaborative run with ‘Meet in the Middle’, taken from the upcoming (m)edian EP. It’s a silky, slow-burn duet that creates its own quiet universe in just over three minutes, with Wafia grounding Ta-ku’s gauzy production and airy vocal sensitivity. This kind of beat-flickered emotional self-examination is huge right now, but these two do it better than anybody else.

Baro feat. Nasty Mars & Marcus –‘wdubi’

Three young rappers show off their heart-smart articulation on ‘wdubi’, an acronym for “What do you believe in?” Lifted from Baro’s pending EP Just Problems You Need to Know, it’s got snappy, horn-kissed production from Nic Martin (Seth Sentry, Aston Shuffle) and much smooth-talking charisma. Baro is supporting Elizabeth Rose across her seven-date national tour this month.

Philadelphia Grand Jury – ‘Spend More Time’

In the thick of a tour where they’re encouraging audience karaoke, the Philly Jays clearly aren’t too precious about their work. Now they’ve revisited a track from last year’s album Summer of Doom as the first single of their in-the-works next LP. More scratchy and heartfelt than the self-aware power pop of the band’s past, ‘Spend More Time’ was influenced by early Troggs but also echoes The Creation’s immortal ‘Making Time’, with a dash of Wreckless Eric.

Holy Balm – ‘Fashion’

Four years after their relatively overlooked debut LP, Sydney trio Holy Balm have signed to enduring Melbourne label Chapter Music for a follow-up. The first taste is ‘Fashion’, a hypnotic convergence of gurgling synths, detached rhythms and breathy mantras (“Fashion it the way you want”). There’s a glaring pop sensibility beneath all the dazed awkwardness, and Marcus Whale’s sax cameo nearly steals the show. Holy Balm’s new album Activity is out in early August.

Bec Sandridge – ‘You’re a Fucking Joke’

Bec Sandridge scores a well-deserved breakthrough with this quirky slice of empowerment. As much as the kiss-off title grabs our attention, what holds it is the bold array of strange touches, from the ominous piano hook and Sandridge’s unbound vocal range to the little tongue-in-cheek callouts across genres. The swaggering single comes out on 7” vinyl next month via The Farmer & The Owl.