Tim Finn, Ninajirachi and Kirin J Callinan: Australia’s best new music for May

Each month our critics pick 20 new songs for our Spotify playlist. Read about 10 of our favourites here – and subscribe on Spotify, which updates with the full list at the start of each month

AT – The Sea Holds the Memory

For fans of: XTC, Crowded House

In the mid-1990s, Split Enz founder Tim Finn joined Hothouse Flowers’ leader Liam Ó Maonlaí and Belfast-born singer-songwriter Andy White to form ALT. White is now a Melbourne-based academic, and he has teamed up with Finn again – this time minus the L – as AT, with a self-titled record that’s full of the sort of thoughtful, literate pop you’d expect from both artists, produced by the legendary John Leckie. The Sea Holds the Memory is a celestial example, and kicks the album off. – Andrew Stafford

For more: AT is out now, and The Sea Holds the Memory is best heard in the context of the full album – don’t miss it.

Collarbones - Ripe for Filth

For fans of: Deftones, or any of Chino Moreno’s projects really

‘Languide, sensual 90s rock’: Collarbones’ new single Ripe for Filth.
‘Languide, sensual 90s rock’: Collarbones’ new single Ripe for Filth. Photograph: Jonno Revanche

Adelaide’s Travis Cook and Sydney’s Marcus Whale have been making music remotely and periodically under the moniker Collarbones for over a decade. Every release is an occasion and a total delight. Their new single – their first song in nearly four years – is no different. Ripe For Filth sees the band moving away from their icy electronic pop to a languid, sensual 90s rock. This song is about submitting to an annihilating pleasure – or as the band themselves put it, “Filthy sentiments. Transcendent bliss.” – Isabella Trimboli

For more: Listen to Collarbones’ last record Futurity, or Marcus Whale’s solo album The Hunger.

Big Wett – Bags

For fans of: Uffie, Kim Petras, Peaches

Proudly tawdry … Big Wett.
Proudly tawdry … Big Wett. Photograph: Marcus Coblyn

Big Wett’s music reeks of poppers. Since materialising last year from a hazy fog of dry ice, the Melbourne artist (real name as yet unknown) has released a string of singles, each one filthier and brasher than the last. Bags, standing for Bitches Ain’t Got Shit, is her latest dancefloor provocation: a bratty, braggadocious declaration of sex appeal above vinyl scratches, canned applause and an instrumental straight out of Grand Theft Auto. It’s gloriously deranged – and proudly tawdry. – Michael Sun

For more: Her EP Pu$$y is out later this year. In the meantime, listen to previous singles Number 1 Pussy, Eat My Ass, and King Dick.

Kirin J Callinan – Anæmic Adonis

For fans of: Lost Animal, Genesis Owusu

The second single from Kirin J Callinan’s upcoming album is a skittering electro-pop mishmash, hurtling along on an ecstatic bed of synth and drums. You can almost picture Callinan, wide-eyed and feral with energy and joy, as the track blisteringly explodes in less than three minutes. One of the country’s most original, irreverent and sometimes controversial music personas, Callinan’s style is unpredictable and eclectic. There’s a lot going on here sonically, but it’s delightful, delirious fun. – Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen

For more: Kirin J Callinan’s new album, If I Could Sing, is out 23 June.

Ninajirachi & Ravenna Golden – 1x1

For fans of: Fred Again, Grimes at her clubbiest

Until now, Central Coast producer Ninajirachi has excelled at making music to soundtrack the perfect club in your mind’s eye – a glittering, high-gloss ice palace where the ceilings are high, the music is loud and the vodka sodas are free-flowing. With her latest song 1x1, a collaboration with if-you-know-you-know hyperpop vocalist Ravenna Golden, she dips into a decidedly more earthbound club. But that doesn’t mean any of the magic is lost: instead, 1x1 is a sharp reminder that beneath Ninajirachi’s immaculate aesthetic moulding, there’s a deep knowledge of crowd-pleasing, extraordinarily satisfying dance music. – Shaad D’Souza

For more: Check out Nina’s two full-length releases, 2022’s Second Nature and 2021’s True North (Deluxe) with Kota Banks.

Snowy – If I’m Right

For fans of: the Clean, Alex Chilton, the Ocean Party

The prolific Liam Halliwell: the frontman of Snowy Band who also records solo as Snowy.
The prolific Liam Halliwell: the frontman of Snowy Band who also records solo as Snowy. Photograph: Simon Fazio

Melbourne’s Liam Halliwell (AKA Snowy) seems to always have a great new record out: see Audio Commentary and Alternative Endings, made with his group, the celebrated Snowy Band. A cut off his excellent solo album Lipreader, If I’m Right is an indie-rock song of quiet, mordant melancholy, detailing the mind slowly unraveling amid the banality of rain and the beep of a tumble dryer. – Isabella Trimboli

For more: Listen to Snowy’s new record Lipreader.

Gold Fang – Red Light

For fans of: Koffee, Popcorn

Born in Trinidad and based in Sydney, Gold Fang is a shining light of Australia’s eclectic and generative dancehall scene, an impossibly charismatic musician whose music slips freely between dancehall, R&B and rap. His new record Smoove Killa is ridiculously good fun, and Red Light is an indisputable highlight, a seamy reggae track that finds Gold Fang singing over a wheezing, bloated beat. As the winter months come in, let Smoove Killa be your primary vitamin D source. – Shaad D’Souza

For more: Listen to Gold Fang’s debut single Where Yuh From, and the double A-side Light It.

Hard-Ons – Apartment for Two

For fans of: Every old-school punk band you can think of

This ripper single trails the second album by the 41-year-young Australian punk band to feature the dulcet tones of You Am I’s Tim Rogers, who joined his childhood heroes in 2021 after the dismissal of original singer and drummer Keish de Silva. Remarkably, the first Hard-Ons album with Rogers, I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken, was their first to reach the top 10 – but this time, Rogers is fully involved as a lyricist and melody writer. The new album is also called Ripper, a tribute to those godawful Australian compilations from the 70s. – Andrew Stafford

For more: Ripper is out 2 June; the band are backing it with a national tour on 22 June, before embarking of their 20th (!) tour of Europe.

Cat & Calmell – Overstimulated

For fans of: beabadoobee, the Veronicas

Sydney-based duo Cat & Calmell deliver a slice of nostalgic pop with their new single, with their Y2K sound and aesthetic clashing against lyrics exploring the very modern existential horror of being perceived. It’s rough around the edges, spiked with a fuzzy sheen, but the two singers’ sweet vocals are a smooth balm, and the chorus is a boppy earworm. Get your Impulse spray on and your crimpers and friendship bracelets out, because the early-2000s are back. – Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen

For more: Cat & Calmell are supporting Mallrat on her national tour

‘Get your Impulse spray on’: Cat & Calmell’s Y2K throwback.
‘Get your Impulse spray on’: Cat & Calmell’s Y2K throwback Photograph: Supplied

Luluc – Come On Spring

For fans of: Better Oblivion Community Center, Father John Misty, Big Thief

Spring, the track which opened Luluc’s acclaimed 2018 album Sculptor, was a clear-eyed hymn to a time of “gentle zephyrs” and “golden days”. Here, the folk duo return to that season – with a new agitation creeping into the glow. “Can’t shake this chill and I wanna be free,” they plead over a chug of country guitar. The pace is just slightly brisker than the yawning languor of their earlier work, though the lyrics remain awestruck by the flowers and the skies in all their pastoral splendour. Wordsworth would be proud. – Michael Sun

For more: Listen to Luluc’s 2020 album Dreamboat.

Contributors

Shaad D'Souza, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, Isabella Trimboli, Andrew Stafford and Michael Sun

The GuardianTramp

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