pring is here, and with it comes a smorgasbord of great new Australian releases. From Courtney Barnett‘s meditative instrumental album ‘End Of The Day’, to BIG WETT‘s extremely fun debut EP and a frenzied new record from Sydney punks C.O.F.F.I.N, there’s something for everybody this month.
September also brings Sarah Mary Chadwick‘s best album to date, the debut from Melbourne singer-songwriter Juice Webster, a new solo outing from Tame Impala/Pond member Jay Watson and plenty more. Dive in.
A whole lot has happened to MAY-A since debut EP ‘Don’t Kiss Ur Friends’ arrived in 2021 – from playing shows around the world to releasing her mega-hit Flume collaboration ‘Say Nothing’.
Follow-up ‘Analysis Paralysis’ shows the growth that’s accompanied that journey in spades, evolving the guitar-driven pop of her debut while branching out. Songs like ‘Ifyoulikeitlikethat’ and ‘Sweat You Out My System’ show a darker side to her songwriting; caustic kiss-offs with a razor-sharp edge, juxtaposed with the sugary pop euphoria of cuts like ‘Your Funeral’.
MAY-A’s ‘Analysis Paralysis’ is out September 1 via Sony/Arcadia.
‘End Of The Day’
Courtney Barnett’s first instrumental album is drawn from improvisational sketches she recorded with collaborator Stella Mozgawa to accompany Anonymous Club, filmmaker Danny Cohen’s intimate portrait of the singer-songwriter. While Barnett’s distinctive drawl and sharp-witted lyricism have often been cited as her music’s most immediately recognisable traits, there’s always been a nuanced, emotive quality to the sounds underneath.
That’s ever-present on ‘End Of The Day’, as atmospheric guitar chords and warm synths unfurl around each other slowly, meditative and often utterly mesmeric. With each note left to hang in the air with unhurried deliberation, the sheer expressiveness of these songs is disarming.
Courtney Barnett’s ‘End Of The Day’ is out September 8 via Milk!
Snarling, scuzzy and terrifyingly energetic: livewire Sydney punks (and Amyl and the Sniffers mates) C.O.F.F.I.N return with a ripping new record of high-octane belters where they do what they do best while moving into satisfyingly weirder territory, overseen by producer Jason Whalley of Frenzal Rhomb.
Vigorous rhythms, soaring guitar licks and Ben Portnoy’s barking-dog vocals anchor a headfirst embrace of groove and good old-fashioned rock and roll (with spiritual nods to the Stooges and Australian swamp-stomp legends Beasts of Bourbon).
C.O.F.F.I.N’s ‘Australia Stops’ is out September 15 via Damaged.
Where does Jay Watson find the time, eh? The Pond and Tame Impala member’s sixth solo record as GUM is a free-flowing voyage that feels down to earth while whizzing around the cosmos: live drums and acoustic guitars swirling around spacious electronics and Watson’s silky voice.
Many of the songs on ‘Saturnia’ start small before zigzagging and billowing out, transforming from plaintive, gently-strummed chords to heady, kaleidoscopic proportions, twisting and turning throughout. GUM has always felt like an avenue for Watson to explore his more out-there ideas, and it’s thrilling to hear some of the wilder experiments that feature on ‘Saturnia’.
GUM’s ‘Saturnia’ is out September 15 via Spinning Top.
Julia Webster’s folk-rooted early singles in 2019 and subsequent EPs introduced an emotionally aware, deeply thoughtful and introspective songwriter. Her debut album feels like both a major shift and a natural progression, the bones of these songs elevated by stunning, textural full-band arrangements, electronic flourishes and a clarity of expression.
Songs like ‘Returning’, ‘In the Zone’ and ‘Among the Wires’ feel dreamlike but immediate, recalling the best quality of songwriters like Alex G or Big Thief‘s Adrianne Lenker.
Juice Webster’s ‘Julia’ is out September 15 via Cohort.
Sarah Mary Chadwick
‘Messages To God’
We’re lucky to have Sarah Mary Chadwick. After 2021’s sparse, brilliant ‘Me And Ennui Are Friends, Baby’, Chadwick’s latest is considerably lusher and more sonically varied, flute and keys swirling around bashed piano chords and her distinctive, raw vocals. Chadwick’s most memorable songs have always been about enduring despite the world’s abject, heartbreaking shittiness – without ever shying away from it.
They make you feel as if, maybe, you can too. From the deceptively buoyant ‘Drinkin’ On A Tuesday’ to aching slow-burner ‘Only Bad Memories Last’ (“The nice ones fade so fast“), ‘Messages To God’ is full of songs that centre on this pursuit. The result is Chadwick’s best album.
Sarah Mary Chadwick’s ‘Messages To God’ is out September 15 via Kill Rock Stars.
Sometimes, there’s simply no need for subtlety. Song titles like ‘NUMBER 1 PUSSY’ and ‘BAGS’ make it clear from the outset what BIG WETT and her debut EP ‘PU$$Y’ are all about: brash, audacious electro-pop with hints of Peaches and a lot of attitude.
These songs would fall apart if there was even a fraction less commitment to the whole performance, but they’re bursting with so much character you can’t help but get swept up in it. Tongue-in-cheek, camp as hell and extremely fun.
BIG WETT’s ‘PU$$Y’ is out September 22 via Play It Again Sam.
The Melbourne-via-Brisbane songwriter returns with her first album in five years. Anchored around the lingering, hypnotic baritone guitar lines Cameron plays, her vocals gliding above, the songs on ‘Holding Pattern’ feel heavy in every sense of the word.
Cameron recently described one song (the wryly upbeat ‘The Wrong Way’) as “five years of therapy in song form”, and these meditations on behaviour patterns feel starkly close to the bone. But they’re full of colour too, with a richness and warmth that makes them easy to sink into.
Hannah Cameron’s ‘Holding Pattern’ is out September 22 independently.
‘A Lover’s Guide To A Lucid Dream’
The Canberra trio shine anew on their third album, which glistens with pristine pop production while beating with a very human heart underneath. Vocalist Ben Woolner’s heavenly falsetto is given more range to explore, allowing the crystalline synths and warm pads to breathe a little deeper.
There’s a real satisfying commitment to building up atmosphere and tonality across the record, naturally rising and falling, developing on the mood-driven approach to electronic music they’ve long fostered. A decade into their career, SAFIA sound both reflective and re-energised.
SAFIA’s ‘A Lover’s Guide To A Lucid Dream’ is out September 22 via Warner Music Australia.
‘The World Don’t Owe You Anything’
The boys from Tassie distil the lifeblood of the hearty, melodic punk they’ve crafted over the past decade on their vital sixth record. The songs on ‘The World Don’t Owe You Anything’ grapple headfirst with the realisation your life has changed, and the recognition all you can do is move forward.
That candour is matched by how cathartic each song feels, even those less urgent. In fact, many of the album’s most satisfying moments come as interweaving guitars build up slowly around frontman Tyler Richardson’s unmistakable vocals, before exploding into instant-classic refrains destined to be shouted back at the band.
Luca Brasi’s ‘The World Don’t You Anything’ is out September 29 via Cooking Vinyl Australia.