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September 30, 2021

Adelaide’s best new music

We've rounded up Adelaide's best new music for the month of September, including some slow-dancing dark country from Jess Johns, a meditative jam from Slowmango and some washed out electronica from Jackulson.

  • Words: Angela Skujins and Johnny von Einem

Jackulson — ‘Tracy Hill’

We came for Jackulson’s striking resemblance to the daddy of goth rock – Robert Smith of The Cure – and stayed for the perplexing production.


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.

It’s the fitful guitar lick opening of alternative single ‘Tracy Hill’, though, that really got our attention. From the moment we hit play, the unsettling electronic drum pattern and jagged guitar chords left us feeling unmoored, dropped into the weird and wonderful world of Jackulson – real name Jackson Phillips.

‘Tracy Hill’ comes from Jackulson’s recently released two-track EP, and is an arresting mix of post-punk electronica and washed-out rock. It’s the first release since the musician’s former band, Bart’s Nightmare, formally split in August this year.

We’re excited to see Siouxsie Sioux’s aesthetic has returned to Adelaide’s music scene. (AS)

tiles — ‘Sleep In’

CityMag premiered tiles’ new single ‘Sleep In’ earlier this week, and we stand by what we said: the three-minute single twinkles with vocalist Katie Pomery’s gentle mutter-singing and crashing arpeggiated guitar chords from Matt Schultz, which he says he  enjoys playing more than “fat riffs”.

The lovesick song, which is the first of three singles soon to be released to the public, is accompanied by an acoustic kit, but also peppered with gauzy textures, such as electronic drum pads.

Tiles is a bright beam of light born in the midst of SA’s grisly pandemic lockdown last year, and they’ve released a slate of singles prior to ‘Sleep In’. But this difficult-to-decipher single comes in hot as possibly the band’s best work. (AS)

Jess Johns — Flicker (Burn)

Jess Johns’ recent six-minute single ‘Flicker (Burn)’ reaches into the darkest depths of country, creating a sad and beautiful slow dance – a vibe CityMag could live in forever. The waltz beat moves slowly beneath Jess’ haunting vocals, which explores the mix of joy and suffering that comes from vulnerability:

Some days I flicker between wanting to say ‘Thank you, I mean it, for showing me these things’/Some days I flicker between wanting to say ‘Fuck you, I mean it, for showing me these things’.

The seething underbelly of the song threatens at every moment to break above the restrained surface, but never does – like a sad swelling in your chest suppressed, lest it show in your eyes and give away how you really feel.

‘Flicker (Burn)’ is the first single from an EP set to be released next week. (JVE)

Halfway Charlie — Buzzy (As Summer Rolls Back Around)

Four-piece alt-rock Halfway Charlie deliver a sun-drenched ode to moments of great change. The bitter edge of a closing winter can still be felt, but there’s warmth enough in the air to know something new will come to you soon. The song is pleasant when taken as a statement of fact, a literal report on this wet September afternoon (at time of writing), but when read as a wistful reminiscence on the beauty of staring at a new chapter of your life with calm acceptance, it’s a fun song to spend some time in. (JVE)

Druid Fluids — ‘Flutter By’

The new song by psychedelic four-piece Druid Fluids, ‘Flutter By’, is a perfect cocktail of crunchy and languid tones all wrapped up into one.

Despite being four-and-a-half minutes in length, the tripped-out track has more drive than the band’s previous releases, such as ‘Out of Phase’, and marches forward with phased guitars – and what sounds like a sitar – swirling around a crashing kit.

Buried under kilos of wah-wah pedals and feedback, ‘Flutter By’ is demonstrative of the band’s penchant for acid rock. But what makes Druid Fluids special – and is clear on this single – is multi-instrumentalist Jamie Andrew’s falsetto singing, which cuts a clear way forward through the mysterious architecture. (AS)

Rat Ta’Mango — Well Well Well

CityMag is a sucker for nostalgia – particularly now, as our much-quietened city tries its best to keep the heartbeat of its nightlife alive, despite the live music industry being hamstrung by burdensome restrictions. Rat Ta’Mango’s latest single, ‘Well Well Well’, bridles with the grit and grime of the pop blues renaissance of the early 2010s, taking this listener back to the days when Bob Log III would regularly pop up at Jive and The Black Keys, via El Camino, graduated to become commercial radio mainstays. Weekends would be spent flitting between sweaty moshpits at Jive, The Producers, the Ed Castle and The Gov. Do we want to go back to these days of guitar rock monoculture? Not necessarily. But it’s a fun trip back for two and a bit minutes. (JVE)

Not For Humans — Lost in the Woods

Opening with sparse plucky arpeggiation and steadily paced drumming, ‘Lost in the Woods’ builds into driving fuzz with vocals soaring smoothly above, making for an approachable entrée into Adelaide’s psych rock scene. Not For Humans are signed to Mystique Records, which CityMag profiled recently, and we expect to see more from the group and the label in the very near future. (JVE)

Slowmango – ‘Paradise International’

Flavourful musical outfit Slowmango – a spicy offshoot from ever-changing arts collective The Bait Fridge – have released their first single since dropping their debut self-titled EP in 2019. Titled ‘Paradise International’, the song explodes with referential, rollicking sounds from their last 12 months.


In CityMag’s recently-published Park Lands Edition, we spent a couple of hours with The Bait Fridge and Slowmango in their Kent Town studio to better understand their process and how to become “the blob.”
Find it on streets now.

The six-and-a-half-minute single begins with vocalist Kaspar Schmidt Mumm cooing like a desert bird and fades into Adrian Schmidt Mumm’s echoed-out surf-rock guitar riff, while Matthew Morison lazily runs his mallets up and down a vibraphone.

Bizarre noises and brief vocal phrases accumulate, but the piece eventually caves under the weight of the layers, all sounds tumbling down like the first heavy rains of the monsoon season.

This year, Slowmango performed at Tasmania’s winter music and art festival, Dark Mofo, and at 18-day Northern Territory arts celebration, Darwin Festival. We can only assume the strictly instrumental ensemble sampled some sounds from these surroundings. (AS)

SO.Crates — ‘Beaut–i–full World (feat. Zima & Kalala)’

On the surface, the new song by hip-hop duo SO.Crates is so pure if you gave it wings it would fly away like a cherub. But once you hit the bridge – you realise this genial groove is a pointed indictment of elements of our social and cultural fabric.

Adelaide-based lyricist Cazeaux O.S.L.O is one-half of SO.Crates, and provided bars on the soulful track, which according to the group’s Bandcamp page, is a sonic proclamation for peace. ‘I want to live in a beautiful world,” featuring artist Kalala croons with her honey-coated pipes over syncopated beats, dreamy keys and record scratchings.

Although Kalala is clear in her opinion – ‘the city is on fire / and the trees are coming down / the water line is high / and it’s never been down’ – we’re left feeling as though they still hold a vision for an optimistic future, and this song is an attempt to rid all that’s terrible. (AS)

Elizabeth Ruyi — Stars and Galaxies

For your daily dose of summery dream-pop, throw ‘Stars and Galaxies’ to the nearest Bluetooth speaker in your house and keep it on repeat. The vocal production is luscious, bedded upon an expansive mix of ethereal instrumentation. Gorgeous. (JVE)

Natasha Bianca — Girl Like Me

A mix of contemporary RnB and So Fresh-era pop melodies, ‘Girl Like Me’ sees Natasha Bianca ruminate on a lost love difficult to let go for good: ‘I don’t know why you do this to a girl like me.’ The production is slick and the tempo is just slower than dance floor material, but the trap-inflected beat keeps it feeling like a club-appropriate needle drop. (JVE)


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