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May 4, 2023

Adelaide’s best new music

We've rounded up Adelaide's best new music for April, including The Empty Threats, effie, Molly Rocket, The Yearlings and Nathan May.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem, Claudia Dichiera & Shannon Pearce
  • Graphic: Jayde Vandborg

Nathan May — ‘It’s Gotta Start Somewhere’

Adorned with soft guitar picking, gentle percussion and blues lines, this contemplative song from Adelaide-based singer-songwriter Nathan May is one of only a handful of releases since his 2016 debut EP, Reflections. It has a calming quality, from Nathan’s soft and smooth voice to the delicate approach of the band’s arrangement. Musing on how people could be kinder and create a better world, this song represents a step up in production quality from Nathan’s earlier work. (SP)


Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

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

Ryan Martin John — ‘Long Dark Night’

Much like its title, this song sounds like a drive down a long country road at the end of the night, feeling that something could jump in front of the car at any time. The vocals of Ryan and Nancy Bates have a charmingly lo-fi quality, as if singing around a campfire with a guitar. From his recently released album Goodness Gracious Graceless, ‘Long Dark Night’ leans into Ryan’s country sound with an air of unease. (SP)

The Yearlings — ‘Gone are the Days’

‘Gone Are the Days’ by The Yearlings has a folky, Fleetwood Mac-esque feel, complete with a mid-song acoustic guitar solo. The track is a sneak peek of the band’s upcoming album, Luck. This will be the pair’s sixth studio album, and build on their reputation for raw, intimate, Americana-style music. (CD)

Big Romance — ‘Lost At Sea’

‘Lost At Sea’ blends an almost Irish-sounding guitar riff, gritty drums and ‘90s garage band sounding group vocals. A lamenting song about the loss of a lover, the vocals and guitars almost wail in pain. The project of Conor Deery, a regular on the Adelaide music scene, Big Romance has just released new album Sandy Hill(SP)

Wake in Fright — ‘Day to Sink’

Much of Wake in Fright’s recently released album It Can Happen Here, is the familiar smooth, jazzy adult contemporary sound the band does well, but ‘Day to Sink’, on the back end of the album, sees singer Sam Wilson goes off on a solo wander into forest folk territory. It’s a delicate and beautiful diversion from the band, but keeps with Wake in Fright’s penchant for easy listening. Wake in Fright will celebrate the launch of its new album with a gig at Lowlife on Thursday, 11 May. (JVE)

Eugene the City — ‘Coming up for Air’

Somehow, Eugene the City have managed to make a guitar sound almost like a harp in this atmospheric song. One feels like they’re almost transcending as his vocals drape over the listener like silk. His inspiration from classical guitar music is obvious with the depth and delicateness of sound he achieves from his instrument. With ‘Coming Up For Air’ the debut release from the artist, it’s exciting to see what might come next from this skilled musician. (SP)

JLotu$ — ‘Moonlight’

Starting off with the mellow tone of a piano, ‘MoonLight’ suddenly transitions into a hard beat with JLotu$’s powerful rhymes taking over. JLotu$ is has an Adelaide rapper from Jamaica, bringing a new kind of flair to the city’s hip-hop scene. (CD)

The Empty Threats — ‘Evil Eye’

Hearing Stu Patterson’s idle speaking delivery at the beginning of Evil Eye is unsettling, having become accustomed to the grandiose voice-from-on-high on other Empty Threats songs. As per the media release that accompanied the song, Stu is contemplating the self-realisation that comes from “reflecting on one’s mortality”, which explains the sound of a distant stare – and there’s something addictive in observing the world a step removed from reality. At the chorus, the commanding Stu returns, planting a foot in the half-world: “Watching time / made up my mind / let it go by”. ‘Evil Eye’ is taken from The Empty Threats’ forthcoming debut album, Monster Truck Mondays, due out 28 July. (JVE)

Effie — ‘Lip Balm’

Despite the rainy, autumnal weather of the moment, this song will make you feel like it’s summertime. Effie’s voice is dreamy, with a light-rock guitar underneath. Ethereal guitar synths weave their way between the gritty rhythm section and effie’s soft voice. ‘Lip Balm’ reflects on relationships during a confusing and bizarre time of life those in their 20s will recognise. Their self-described genre of “bubblegrunge” is apt when listening to their mix of tender lyrics and noisy guitar tone. (SP)

Busseys — ‘Swear It Was True’

Inspired by the likes of Spacey Jane and Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Swear It Was True’ is an alternative duet following two friends as they navigate through life’s difficult moments. Busseys first found hometown success in 2018, following their debut single ‘Crystal Gazer’. They were able to secure a spot in supporting Lime Cordiale for three sold out shows at Lion Arts Factory and have continued to grow and perfect their sound since then. (CD)

Junk Harmony — ‘billions (vi)’

Tom Matheson, the creative mind behind Junk Harmony, described ‘billions (vi)’ to CityMag as an attempt to reconcile their feeling of insignificance in the face of the larger world: “I always struggled at the idea of, does it actually matter? Does anything?” Tom posited, laughing. It’s also the first time Tom made a song entirely from sampling stems from a different song. Despite its weighty wondering, ‘billions (vi)’ is light and uplifting. (JVE)

Jagged Iris — ‘Everybody’

The crafty use of auto-tune through Jagged Iris’s voice brings an innovative concept to the sounds of the guitar. Discussing the complexity of communication, ‘Everybody’ follows the twists and turns that come with falling in love in a raw and honest depiction of relationships. (CD)

Collarbones — ‘Ripe For Filth’

It’s been more than three years since we last heard anything from SYD-by-ADL outfit Collarbones, and it’s nice to be brought back to those long-gone days of the early 2010s, when Collarbones first hit airwaves. ‘Ripe For Filth’ harkens even further back, sounding like a mix of ‘70s power ballads and more contemporary electro-emo-power ballads. There’s more to come from Collarbones later in the year, so stay tuned. (JVE)

Molly Rocket — ‘Rabbit Hole’

When you see a band release anything about a rabbit or its hole, you know you’re going into psychy territory, which is exactly where Molly Rocket are headed on ‘Rabbit Hole’, taken from the EP they released this week, Syrup. The guitars are grungy, the vocals climb, and the production keeps things spacey – right up into the freakout turn the song takes at the two-and a half-minute mark. (JVE)

Hello Enemy — ‘How You Feel’

After joining forces about a year ago, the band Hello Enemy are bringing alt-rock to Adelaide ears. Their latest song, ‘How You Feel’, has a classic grunge sound with a powerful head-banging beat. The band best enjoy the collaborative process of creating, and love the honesty that comes with song writing. Hello Enemy have an upcoming gig at the Broadcast Bar on 6 May. (CD)

Late Night Lies — ‘Small Town Bullshit’

File under: songs to kickflip to. ‘Small Town Bullshit’ is a riffy pop-punk number – a little bit Offspring, a little bit New Found Glory. As the song title suggests, it’s also concerned with an issue familiar to this small-town country boy. Where Late Night Lies could take some notes from their genre forebears is four minutes and 30 seconds is a long punk song, but it’s still a lot of fun. (JVE)

5 Sided Cube — ‘Respite’

Jazz-fusion band 5 Sided Cube’s latest track, ‘Respite’, written by band member Andrew Casey, aims to capture the feeling of rest, written while he was recovering from a surgery. The sweet melody is carried in unison by tenor sax and guitar. A star feature of this track is guitarist Tyler Venter’s solo dancing over Casey’s harmony. If you’re in search of a big vibe to chill out or contemplate to, this could be for you. The band has been churning out music, with an EP and a new album set for release this year. (SP)

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