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January 25, 2024

Adelaide’s best new music

We've rounded up Adelaide's best new music for the months of December and January, including Axe & the Ivory, ephemerons, Jamie Lena, Ricky Albeck and The Mondays.

  • Words: Claudia Dichiera, Charlie Gilchrist and Sharni McPhail
  • Graphic: James Taylor

Axe & the Ivory — ‘Strangers’

We do love Axe & the Ivory at CityMag, and ‘Strangers’ is another folk tune from the four-piece act we have on our ‘unwind’ playlist. As much as it relaxes us, it just as equally breaks us as the band describes experiences of separating from someone and says: “maybe now if we’re just strangers / and if I didn’t know every little thing about you”. The band says their origins began as “a bunch of best mates who grew up playing music together”, and we’re so glad they did.


Listen to this playlist on Spotify .

If you’re a South Australian band or musician with a new release, let us know about it.

Bowillia — ‘COLOURBLIND’

This is the first time Bowillia has made its way into the CityMag ears, and we are here for it. Their debut album titled Faultlines is folky and heartfelt. It showcases the complex voice of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Bella Sola, alongside lead guitarist Daniel Healey. Our top pick was track six titled ‘Colourblind’. Bella and Daniel say this is their representation of breaking free from a toxic relationship, and it’s a song we simply can’t get enough of.

Energy Angel — ‘Want to Run’

This debut single by Energy Angel has set the tone for what we can expect from them: progressive rock with a touch of flamboyancy. It’s giving Green Day but in 2024. Though we don’t know too much about the four-piece set, we can’t wait to see what’s next. You can catch Energy Angel this Saturday at Jive.

ephemerons — ‘You’ll get your turn…’

‘You’ll Get Your Turn’ is the most complex form of electronic feels we have seen from ephemerons. It’s slow and edgy. We’d love it for a mellow night bar hopping around postcode 5000. Ephemerons are a perfect mix of synth-pop and indie.

Hello Enemy — ‘The More You Know’

Although this was technically released at the end of November, it was snubbed from our best new music inclusion, purely based on timing. Despite this, it’s no less than a banger, or more like, a headbanger. The rock and roll instruments create a tune that has us angry and pumped up all at the same time.

Houdini – ‘Lost Woods’

Indie rock outfit Houdini’s new single ‘Lost Woods’ is based around a single guitar riff that is imitated by the tight and well-produced band consisting of drums, bass, guitar and vocals. The gritty guitar is complimented by lead singer Peter White’s more melodic voice and the insane drum fills of Miles Sly. Although this two-minute 40-second song does not present any radical new sound and seems somewhat nostalgic for 2000s alternative bands, CityMag still had our feet tapping along.

Jamie Lena — ‘Dissolve’

Jamie Lena’s new single ‘Dissolve’ is so much fun. The rollicking drumbeat and jazzy chords are a perfect accompaniment to Jamie’s majestic voice. The folksy song is accompanied by a cute and quirky music video and includes some clever vocal harmonies, as well as the continuous sound of offbeat claves. Sitting at our office desk reviewing this month’s best new music, this CityMag reporter couldn’t help but do a little dance to Jamie’s fun new single.

Jessica Luxx — ‘Alone’

Singer-songwriter Jessica Luxx’s new single ‘Alone’ has a real country twang to it, with country-ish harmonies, string ornamentation and the use of brush drumsticks. Not to mention the subject matter of the lyrics: “There’s a bottle that sits beside my bed / it used to hold whisky, now it’s water instead.” The constant refrain “I think I need to be alone / I’m seeking safety and I’m far from home / if it’s raining and my skin is cold” captures the raw emotional vulnerability of Jessica, who is on a journey of self-discovery. Jessica Luxx’s gently paced new single is the kind of song that you can imagine a couple dancing to by the fireside.

La Lani — ‘Sunset at Suluban’

DJ La Lani’s new single ‘Sunset at Suluban’ is a dance track melding together the sounds of 90s house with the more sinister sound of techno music. In EDM music, repetition is often the point, and this song is no exception with its looped drums and house keyboard sound. La Lani is not the first musician to think of blending house and techno music, with Madchester/Acid House group 808 State pioneering this sound in the early 90s, but Adelaide’s La Lani definitely has a unique take on these two EDM genres.

Nakatomi Plaza — ‘Voices’

This CityMag reporter has to admit that he is not the biggest fan of metal, but judging off the comments on the YouTube video accompanying Nakatomi Plaza’s new song ‘Voices’, we can imagine that this song will delight the city’s metalheads. The song is slightly reminiscent of 80s hits such as Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’, while the music video filmed at night in Port Adelaide reminded us of an Assassin’s Creed scene.

Ricky Albeck — ‘Insignificant Favours’

Ricky Albeck offers a taste of his debut album with ‘Insignificant Favours’, a charming blend of folk-rock elements and introspective storytelling. The song playfully observes quirky habits, labelling them as “weird” or “charming”. Ricky’s soothing voice creates a comforting connection with the listener, much like catching up with an old mate over a beer. He encourages these everyday quirks amid life’s challenges. Fans of Ricky can look forward to an upcoming performance with The Belair Line Band at the Crown & Anchor on February 9.

Sean Blackwell — ‘Return to Earth’

Blending elements of folk with rock, ‘Return to Earth’ blasts into the scene with an infectious guitar riff. It’s more than a song – it’s a journey of self-discovery and reflection following an otherworldly experience: “Something happened on the way to the moon”. The recurring theme of love highlights the emotional turmoil and intensity associated with it, ultimately accepting the inevitable end of youth. Sean Blackwell’s latest release marks his first single in nearly two years, promising listeners a fresh sound to anticipate.

The Mondays — ‘Live Like This’

Building on the success of their popular tracks, The Mondays have released their debut EP ‘Live Like This’ that embraces ‘no thoughts, just vibes’. The title track delivers an upbeat melody with bittersweet lyrics that yearn for something more. The Mondays have crafted a dreamy sonic realm of intricate harmonies, layered synths, and vibrant guitars while still embracing their buzzing alt-pop.

The Munch — ‘Stills’

The Munch challenges traditional song structures in their latest single ‘Stills’, incorporating dynamic shifts of genre and emotional outbursts. The song opens with a distorted nostalgic riff, building up in intensity before plunging into chaotic raw emotion. The ferocity is maintained even through the clean vocals of Frontman Seb Rogers expressing his frustrations. ‘Stills’ throws any sense of genre out the window in its six-minute duration, abruptly ending with the sound of a dying Gameboy (in a good way). The high-energy and intense nature of the track firmly establishes the band’s evolving sound direction.

Wake in Fright — ‘Punchcard’

‘Punchcard’ was created and recorded at the Church of Holy Innocents in Belair. The ambient echos and feedback from the venue infuse a warm quality into this chamber-folk track. The song kicks off with vibrant, rhythmic guitar and expressive vocals, delivering lyrics that express earnestness, sensitivity and self-reflection accompanied by double bass, violin and a snare drum. The song builds into a chaotic climax with the band embracing spontaneity. ‘Punchcard’ captures the highs, lows and moments of chaos with an exhilarating and hopeful sound.

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