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December 1, 2021

Adelaide’s best new music

We've rounded up Adelaide's best new music for the month of November, including Elsy Wameyo, Electric Fields, Estee and Katie Pomery.

  • Words: Angela Skujins and Johnny von Einem

Elsy Wameyo — ‘Nilotic’

Elsy Wameyo has released a steady flow of tracks over the last two years, mostly in the R&B realm, giving preference to paced melodics over rhythmic hip-hop elements. ‘Nilotic’, produced by Elsy herself and released via Music in Exile, sees the artist dig harder into hip-hop influences, rapping with calm, dead-eyed assurance. Elsy is no stranger to writing about what it means to be African in an Australian context, but in ‘Nilotic’ her lyrical tone has shifted. This is less soul-searching about self and more a confident reclamation of culture. Stand down, the queen’s here. (JVE)


Listen to this playlist in full on Spotify.

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

Katie Aspel — ‘Chewing Gum’

It’s hard to believe such a fully formed sound could emerge in a debut single, but ‘Chewing Gum’ from Ngarrindjeri artist Katie Aspel is a clean, tightly produced piece of R&B pop. Production on the track came from Melbourne-based Memphis LK. Katie is also an alumnus of the WOMAD x NSS Academy songwriting workshop, a program which took out Best Innovation Award at this year’s SAMs(JVE)

Estée — ‘Twenty Eight’

Estée’s pop-bedroom ballads first piqued our interest in February this year, when she was announced as one of 10 culturally diverse musicians to participate in the WOMADelaide x NSS Academy program (like Katie Aspel above).

Since then, Estée (real name Estee Evangeline) has released a string of singles, some of which have clocked in almost 1m Spotify listens. She recently dropped ‘twenty eight’, which, just as effortlessly as the lower-cap title of the track suggests, features Estée living her best carefree life.

The vocal hook ‘when the sunsets in your eyes’ manages to cut through the saturated low-fi guitars, 808 beats and wispy harmonics like the sun slicing through clouds. (AS)

Electric Fields — ‘Gold Energy’

Bursting with big dance music enthusiasm, ‘Gold Energy’ by state treasures and cross-cultural electronic duo Electric Fields, is a chantable, danceable ode to finding the ‘thunder on the inside’.

Also, ‘Tribal vibin’ ’ is a contender for best lyrical phrase of the year.

It’s the first song Michael Ross and Zaachariaha Fielding, have released since signing to Warner Music Australia, and foreshadows a shift into bigger music territory. But despite the commercial success, they’re staying grounded to their roots, as evidenced by with the lyrical pre-chorus, where Mimili-based Zaachariaha sings in Aṉangu to ‘adjust your spirit / correct your energy’. The group’s ability to walk both cultures, crossing genres and soundscapes, is why they resonate globally. (AS)

Mystery Sea Creature — ‘A Tail of Two Legs’

Mariana-Trench-level pitched-down vocals drawling some kind of spoken word poetry over a jangly indie-rock riff. That’s what opens the latest single from up-and-coming solo musician Mystery Sea Creature. ‘A Tail of Two Legs’ is an underwater expedition, where you’re at risk of sinking beneath the surface of disjointed couplets and the meandering psychedelic keyboard solo. Bring a snorkel. (AS)

Tiles — ‘Sad Songs’

We’ve said it before and it’s true once again – Tiles have come out with a banger. Their new single, titled ‘Sad Songs’, is awash with sparkling guitars, vocals and electronica, and even though it’s sombre, it is still a good time.

The video clip, by Adelaide filmmaker Conor Mercury, is a masterpiece. Vocalist Katie Pomery and guitarist Matt Schultz sashay around a tennis court in a carousel of vintage looks, grounded by the contagious hook. We can’t tell if Matt’s cowboy hat, draped in long tinsel, is a direct rip-off of country musician Orville Peck’s signature tasselled look, or a humble homage to the icon, but if that’s the only criticism to be found of ‘Sad Songs’, it’s doing pretty well. (AS)

Choosing Sides — ‘Impulsive’

Indie rock four-piece Choosing Sides released their sophomore EP All I Need in November, with opening track ‘Impulsive’ capturing the band’s penchant for big choruses and diving into the insecurities of human relationships. Sometimes the lyrics lean schmaltzy, but they do ring honest(JVE)

Wanderers — ‘Malibu’

Did you know there’s a Facebook group dedicated to Adelaide band the Wanderers and their lead singer and guitarist, Dusty Lee Stephensen? It’s unclear what relationship the administrator, a gentleman called Martin Wagner, has with the funk two-piece, but the love is clear. When the Wanderers dropped their latest four-minute groove, ‘Malibu’, the group went wild. It’s easy to see why.

The video clip has the two-piece expanded to a six-piece, performing live in the middle of South Australia’s famous pink lake, ricocheting an infectious groove between synths, an electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and saxophone. With the Wanderers billed to perform live next year at Texas music showcase festival South by Southwest, perhaps the song, with its irresistible boogie groove and call of ‘trying to find my way to Malibu’, is a message to the Australian Federal Police to let the band out of the country.

We do wonder why the band went for the Americanism, though. Could the ditty be as successful if they wanted to find their way to Coober Pedy? (AS)

Hubris — ‘Chemical Remains’

From its gritty beginning to its more melodic end, ‘Chemical Remains’ is a fast-paced two-minute-ish heart-starter from the five-piece Adelaide punk troupe. The single is out on all platforms now, but the band is celebrating its release with an event at Jive on 11 December, with guest sets from Alexander Black, Kettering and Window Shopping(JVE)

Ricky Albeck and the Belair Line Band — ‘That’s How I Wanna Be’

Ricky Albeck recently told us his favourite song from the recently-released five-track EP Great was ‘That’s How I Wanna Be’. This is mostly because his dad, expert Celtic and bluegrass fiddler Mick Albeck, plays the outro on violin, making the recording a special musical moment forged between two generations. This is also why it’s our favourite song.

‘That’s How I Wanna Be’ tells the story of a 103-year-old-man, covered in wrinkles, “spent” as an old geezer, but unafraid of living. Accompanied by a bittersweet backdrop of guitars, backing vocals and a slow drum pattern, this almost five-minute song becomes a tipped-hat to a life well-lived. (AS)

Katie Pomery — Cardiologist

Katie Pomery is mentioned once elsewhere in this article, as part of the duo Tiles, and she also recently released an already swooned-over self-titled EP as a member of The Empty Threats, and yet – and yet – even she succumbs to the occasional bout of imposter syndrome, as she attests in ‘Cardiologist’. The serene, finger-plucked ballad paints an afternoon of listless self-interrogation, the kind that visits us all from time to time, when a small act of personal destruction – like selling all your possessions and starting again – seems easier than trying to keep up with the life track you’ve set yourself upon. If only everyone’s self-doubt sounded so beautiful(JVE)

Boyd Williams — ‘After All’

Written in lockdown while living in Belgium, and with a clip that was shot during his two weeks in hotel quarantine at the Pullman Adelaide, Boyd Williams’ ‘After All’ is a slow and meditative questioning of the concept of freedom in the post-COVID world. Boyd’s is an optimistic view that CityMag, too, chooses to side with – freedom is the privilege to be part of and contribute to society through the sharing of burden and responsibility, and acts of communal caring(JVE)

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