12 local acts who are set to dominate in 2017
2016 brought a hell of a lot of new players to the local scene. We saw the mainstream emergence of the likes of Alex Lahey, Tash Sultana, Gretta Ray, Vera Blue, and Olympia – acts that not only broke, but dominated festivals and venues around the country.
Now we’re staring down the barrel of another huge year in music, and with it there a tonne of new acts that are doing their best to break through.
We’ve scoped out the talent, listened to a load of tunes, and gazed deep into the crystal ball to come up with the acts that we think are going to rule 2017.
Since landing the Unearthed slot at last year’s Splendour In The Grass, Byron four-piece PLTS (pronounced pilots) have been on a steep upward trajectory. Most recently, they linked up with in demand Sydney producer JP Fung (Last Dinosaurs, Art Vs Science) for their latest round of singles, the excellent ‘Astoria’ and ‘Call Me Out’. The tour mad band are locked in as a support for The Amity Affliction for their upcoming shows – before hitting the road again for their own headlining tour.
Sydney’s Nyxen first started to turn heads with a blinding remix of The Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’, which cracked over 90k listens on SoundCloud. In 2015 she cemented her place as a big deal when she was picked up by tastemaker label Unknown Records. Her two-track You EP was critically loved, and her latest EP Running is clocking up tens of thousands of streams.
Face-melting riffs and skull-cracking drums: this is Melbourne’s Pagan. Taking pointers from Refused, Black Flag, and The Bronx, Pagan are utterly uncompromising in their musical output. Their live shows are legendary, and their records nearly as incendiary. They aim to have a full albums worth of them by the end of the year.
Central Coast slackers Los Scallywaggs released their debut LP Illumination Zap back in October, spawning the singles ‘Acid Nothing’ and ‘White Face’. Since then, they’ve played some raucous shows at Festival Of The Sun and Grow Your Own.
The ludicrously talented Mallrat has had a pretty slick run up to this point, clocking up performances at Falls Festival, The Plot, and BIGSOUND – as well as a much hyped support slot with the Thundamentals. Add to that the fact that her tracks have each been streamed hundreds of thousands of times, and 2017 is suddenly looking like the year of the Mallrat.
Melbourne’s Dumb Punts are such slackers that they named their debut single ‘Chiller’. While the song is definitely a chiller, it’s probably the only one in their arsenal, generally opting for the kind of chaotic garage rock that sees paint stripped from the walls. Don’t think about it, just jump in and get sweaty.
She may not be a household name here yet, but overseas Cloves is beginning to be a BIG deal. She’s played at Coachella, Latitude Festival, British Summer Time, and Lollapalooza. Now the Melbourne local is doubling down to get her debut album ready. She’s just unveiled the first taste of it – ‘Better Now’ – a deliciously lilting folk jam, with a surprisingly gritty chorus.
NT artist Emily Wurramara is currently riding a wave of buzz following the release of acoustic folk track ‘Black Smoke’. Wurramara sings in both English and Anindilyakwa, the traditional language in her home of Groote Eylandt. She has an impressive CV: she’s performed at festivals in Sweden and France, as well as back home at BIGSOUND, Woodford Folk Festival and Island Vibes.
Another Byron act on the very brink of breaking, Tora’s unique brand of chillwave was captured perfectly on their excellent 2014 EP Eat The Sun. Since then, they’ve toured the globe, played to packed tents at a heap of festivals, and knuckled down to write what will hopefully become their debut album. If you needed more convincing, their track ‘Jaigantic’ has racked up nearly 3 million plays on SoundCloud.
Sydney/Canberra production duo Hi Life quickly became the talk of the town when their track ‘When I Get To The Club’ picked up significant online steam. The hype continued when they landed a spot on the bill for SOPHIE’s only Australia sideshow while he was on tour with Flume.
If you’ve been anywhere near a radio recently you’ve probably heard ‘Adore’, Amy Shark’s decidedly excellent pop track and breakthrough single. Since its release, the track has been picked up and featured on pretty much every pop playlist on every streaming platform in sight. So if the amount of current hype surrounding her is anything to go by, expect to hear and see a lot of her this year.
Signed to Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett’s label Milk! Records, Melbourne band Loose Tooth dropped their debut EP Saturn Returns. Since then, they’ve played a shit tonne of shows around the place, including sharing the bill with Barnett for Milk! Records epic Christmas party a month ago.